Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: Islamic Banking - CBN Inaugurates Advisory Council

The CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on January 10, 2013 inaugurated the Financial Regulation Advisory Council of Experts (FRACE) at the CBN Head Office in Abuja.

The Governor in his remarks said that the establishment of the FRACE was part of the provisions of the CBN Guidelines for the regulation and supervision of institutions offering non-interest financial services based on compliance to the principles of Islamic commercial jurisprudence.

The establishment of the FRACE is to ensure that products and services offered by the non-interest financial institutions satisfy the requirements for compliance to the principles underpinning their mode of operation, so as to meet the expectation of their stakeholders which is a concern for regulators.

It is also expected to prevent arbitrage opportunities for these institutions to the disadvantage of conventional ones, where the non-interest institutions would unfairly draw away customers and depositors from the market in the name of compliance with Islamic commercial jurisprudence while in the real sense they are offering the same interest-based products with different names under the guise of compliance.

The Governor in his remarks highlighted some of the duties of the FRACE which include advising not only the CBN on matters referred to it, but also availing its expertise to other regulatory agencies in the Nigerian financial sector in the area of Islamic financial services if they choose to refer to it matters under the FRACE's expertise.

The members whose appointment is on a part-time basis are: Sheikh Sheriff Ibrahim Saleh, as Chairman; Sheikh Adam Idoko; Dr. Ibrahim Jalo; Dr. Abdulrazaq Alaro; Dr. Bashir Aliyu Umar; Dr. Mohammad Akram Laldin the Executive Director of the International Shariah Research Academy of the Bank Negara Malaysia;Dr. Ahmad Ali Abdallah, the Secretary-General of the Shariah Supervisory Board of the Central Bank of Sudan.

The Governor said that the appointment of the members was purely based on their expertise and experience in their field of specialization and called on them to bring this expertise and experience to bear on the discharge of their duties. He finally thanked the members and especially the Central Banks of Malaysia and Sudan for allowing their staff to serve in the FRACE and for availing it of the experience and pioneering roles their local jurisdictions will bring to the FRACE.

The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission 'SEC' Ms. Arunma Oteh who was at the inauguration commended the establishment of the FRACE and expressed the desire of the SEC to elicit the expertise of such an organ especially as the SEC has already made rules on Islamic fund management.

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