By Muhammad Abdurrahman
Despite millions of applications by Nigerian Muslims for the Central Bank of Nigeria’s interest-free interventions, the apex bank decides to discard this critical project.
A year ago, on July 24, 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled series of guidelines for the non-interest financial interventions under its Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF), the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) and host of others. Millions of Nigerians, especially Muslims guided by the sermons of prominent clerics and the assistance of many Muslim IT specialists and academics, applied for these CBN’s interventions.
Nevertheless, more than a year later, there has not been any information or explanation from the CBN regarding these crucial programmes. As a result, Nigerians are now left only with speculations, which are gradually gaining ground.
Many people alleged that some interests within the bank and the country’s financial architecture sabotage the interventions, with all the consequences on the Federal Government’s acclaimed concern for integrated development.
In a statement signed by the National Secretary-General of the Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN), Engr Ahmad M.Y. Jumba said, “It will be a great disservice for the Federal Government, which has been widely applauded for this milestone, to allow this intervention to end up in the dustbin of calculatingly sabotaged policies and programmes. If the CBN is serious, why then the delay in implementation even as it continues to implement other programmes?
“The Da’awah council 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 start-ups; 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,” Jumba lamented.
Some applicants contacted by The Daily Reality cried out that as is the norm for Muslim faithful, they had resorted to prayers and anticipation for God’s intervention. On this note, Jumba also added that:
“It is our hope that the Federal Government will fulfil its promise by directing the CBN to immediately release the modalities for accessing those interventions in the shortest possible time.
“We will call on all religious leaders, Imams, in particular, to use their pulpits and deliver QUNUT against any person who is deliberately engaged in sabotaging the interventions,” Jumba concluded.