Despite the many controversies that surrounded the introduction of Islamic banking in Nigeria, it has come to stay and will address various financing deficits that have hindered the growth and development of small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.
The managing director of Jaiz Bank (an Islamic bank), Alhaji Mustapha Bintube, also said Nigeria cannot afford to miss the rejuvenating waves of Islamic finance and its empirical development that has been witnessed globally in all strata of the society.
According to him, "the future for Islamic finance in Nigeria is bright and promising; with the huge resource endowment, large and growing population, Nigeria stands to benefit from Islamic banking through financial sector diversification, new products, employment opportunities and possible access to foreign direct investment".
Bintube, who stated this in his lecture as the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony for the Certificate Course in Islamic Banking and Finance (CIBF) Programme held in Kaduna, at the weekend, noted that though the journey towards establishing an Islamic bank in Nigeria was full of controversies and regulatory drudgery, its prospects are immense particularly in reducing the number of unbanked Nigerians by providing an ethical offering that may appeal to the population
He implored the 30 graduands to put the knowledge they have acquired to practice in all the fields of finance from banking and capital markets, among others.
He said: "Jaiz bank is poised to be the dominant non-interest financial services provider in sub-Saharan Africa and to provide innovative, value-added, ethical, non-interest financial services to our clientele employing the best people, supported by technology.
"Islamic banking and finance principles have been widely acknowledged as the most authentic value system for human-centred economic development and social justice in the world today."
Earlier in his welcome address, the director, Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dr. M.N Maiturare, said the certificate course in Islamic banking and finance was born out of the necessity to participate in the development of critical manpower for the growing market for interest-free banking in Nigeria.
"The dearth of skilled manpower has been identified as a serious challenge for both present and future Islamic banking and finance institutions in Nigeria. To the Institute of Administration, ABU, Zari,a and the IBFIN, an obligation was placed upon the university to use its vast academic resources, goodwill and outreach in the promotion of the concept of interest-free banking because of its strategic importance to the Nigerian economy and the global financial markets," Maiturare said.
The programme was organized by the Institute of Administration, ABU, Zaria, in collaboration with Islamic Banking and Finance Institute, Nigeria (IBFIN).