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CBN Non-Interest Interventions: What Explains The Long Silence?

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In the middle of the year 2020, Nigerians received the long awaited good news of the release by the CBN of a framework for non-interest alternatives to its various interventions. The package is multidimensional, covering virtually all aspects of the interventions of the apex bank that are geared towards financial inclusion and inclusive socioeconomic empowerment. Several faith based organizations applauded the Federal Government and congratulated the CBN for this giant stride, describing it as “a welcome development, a bold step towards engendering inclusive growth and a proactive mechanism for averting a looming recession threatening the global economy as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic”. They also called on the bank to expedite the actualization of the interventions and make it easily and immediately accessible to even the poorest of the poor. All our expectation and hope was that in a few months, Nigerians who are averse to interest would start joining the caravan of financially included citizens those the novel initiative.

A complete year has now passed without any information. No explanation whatsoever seems to be coming from the Apex Bank regarding these all important programmes. In fact, Nigerians are only left with speculations that are gradually gaining ground, with some semblance of genuineness, that some interests within the bank and the entire country’s financial architecture are doing everything possible to sabotage the interventions, with all the consequences on the Federal Government’s acclaimed concerned for integrated development. Nigerians are largely forced to accept these conspiracy theories in the absence of any alternative facts from the authorities concerned. People ask: if the CBN is serious, why then the delay in implementation even as it continues to implement other programmes?

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Against this background, the Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN) calls on the authorities concerned to expedite action and make those interventions immediately available, accessible and affordable. At a time when many Nigerians are suffering from extreme poverty and hunger, when small businesses are crumbling due to lack of capital, when millions of youth are roaming the streets with no jobs and no access to startups; at this time of hyperinflation amidst dwindling incomes, we find it suicidal for the CBN to remain conspicuously silent about a programme that has all it takes to support Nigerians get out of poverty and put our dear nation on the path of inclusive growth and sustainable development. It will be a great disservice for the Federal Government, which has been widely applauded for this milestone, to allow it end up in the dustbin of calculatingly sabotaged policies and programmes.

Whatever may be the case, DCCN feels that it is the right of Nigerians to be fed with sufficient information IMMEDIATELY on the progress so far in efforts to make the interventions a reality. We call on all religious leaders, Imams in particular, to use their pulpits and deliver QUNUT against any persons that are deliberately sabotaging the interventions. It is our hope that the Federal Government will fulfill its promise by directing the CBN to immediately release the modalities for accessing those interventions in the shortest possible time. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.

Engr. Ahmad M.Y. Jumba, National Secretary General

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