July 18, 2011 FROM ALEMMA-OZIORUVA ALIU AND TAIWO GBADAMOSI
GOVERNOR of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, has said the apex bank, due to the increasing number of requests “from persons, banks and other financial institutions” has developed guidelines for the “regulation and supervision of the institutions that intend to offer Islamic financial services.”
He spoke in Benin City, Edo State capital at the weekend when he delivered a paper titled “Youth empowerment as a tool for sustainable development: The Central Bank of Nigeria interventions,” as part of the orientation programme for Batch B members of the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) presently in camp.
Represented by the Controller, Benin Office of the CBN, Frank Oligbo, Sanusi said the non-interest banking was necessitated by the effect of global economic meltdown “that castrated Nigeria’s financial system and slowed down the growth of the economy.”
He however said there was need for financial institutions, including the apex bank to provide opportunities to strengthen entrepreneurship capacities of corps members, adding that such would lead to Nigeria’s development and attainment of the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to Sanusi, the role of the CBN is to assist in the generation of jobs and income, creation of viable enterprises, empowerment of poor entrepreneurs and uplifting the standard of living of those who are beneficiaries of such services the financial institutions render.
He said in order to reduce unemployment and poverty level in the country, the CBN, as part of its development role initiated some youth empowerment programmes to complement other initiatives of government, the private sector and development partners. “Thus the empowerment of the youths, especially the National Youth Service Corps graduates makes access to financial services even more vital as it opens a vista of untapped opportunity to grow this nation.”
He said in 2008, 84,758 entrepreneurs had benefited from the bank’s Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs), which it established in the country’s six geo-political zones, adding that each of the centres has facilities that support the theory and practical teaching on the principles of entrepreneurship.
According to him, the bank has also established the NYSC Venture Prize Competition for all serving corps members who are to compete on the basis of defined entrepreneurship criteria and traits within the service year.
The scheme, he said, provides for prizes both at national and state levels. At the national level, he said the first winner will get one million while the second position would be given 750,000 and the third position 500,000. At the state level, the first position will be given 200,000 second 150,0000 and third 100,000.