#Nigerian Banks Should Embrace Islamic Finance, By Rafiq Raji

In August 2017, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced two liquidity management instruments for non-interest financial institutions, a Funding for Liquidity Facility (FfLF) and Intra-day Facility (IDF). In a February 2017 report, the IMF mentioned the lack of such sharp liquidity instruments as a key risk to the financial systems of countries where there are Islamic banks. Therefore, the CBN’s recent move is a welcome development. More Nigerian banks would be wise to have Islamic banking windows, but they must be mindful of some potential pitfalls. Customers might be sceptical about whether the bank is truly able to separate its Islamic banking arm from its interest-earning entities. There is also the possibility of regulatory arbitrage, where the bank potentially transfers risk between the two arms, depending on which is favourable. The CBN seems well-geared to handle such potential abuses.