By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, has said Nigeria was working tirelessly to encourage the agricultural and mineral commodities market to grow the economy.
He disclosed this while addressing newsmen a few days ago in Lagos, noting that the country was blessed with various commodities that could be exported and provide the nation with foreign exchange (forex).
Mr Yuguda disclosed that efforts are being made to ensure agricultural produce are of exportable standards and quality, stating that the commission is collaborating with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to develop standards for commodities.
He disclosed that as a result of the collaboration with SON, some of the standards have been developed and exposed to different markets close by, and they have been received very well.
The DG said that the development of these standards will pave the way for the export of these products to the international market and, in turn, boost the Nigerian economy.
He said that the agency was pleased about the new government’s mention of supporting the commodities sector as it will further boost the SEC’s efforts at developing the commodities sector.
“Already, we have licensed a total of 5 exchanges and also approved the trading and framework for operations of different instruments.
“We are collaborating with NAICOM, CBN, SON and the Fed Min of Solid Minerals and Mines in various ways to develop the sector. Ranging from capacity building, standard setting, domestic and international advocacy etc,” he said.
“This is a sector that the commission has been working strenuously to encourage, including agricultural and mineral commodities. This is a market that has a lot of potential for Nigeria.
“We are a very good agricultural nation, and we have a lot of resources, and right now, most of them are sold in local markets without any form standards, and because of that, a lot of our agricultural produce is rejected in the international market.
“You see, smaller countries are able to export their agricultural products, especially fruits. Our fruits are among the best in the world, but unfortunately, we are not participating in this market because of standardisation issues,” Mr Yuguda added.
The SEC chief added, “This is something in the right direction, it is a starting point, and I believe that going further in the near future, this could be something really significant. We expect the agricultural sector to grow significantly in the nearest future.
“We are also collaborating with the Ministry of Solid Minerals because there is a lot of opportunity in that sector. But right now, there is a lot of artisanal mining, so there needs to be a collaboration between state governments and the Ministry of Mines so that there is a kind of standardisation and those mining are licenced by the government, and this mining is happening on a sustainable basis”.
Mr Yuguda stated that as part of implementing the Capital Market Master Plan, the commission constituted a Technical Committee on Commodities Trading Ecosystem whose mandate was to identify challenges of the existing framework and develop a roadmap for a vibrant ecosystem.
“A committee comprising various stakeholders, including the SON, was set up to drive the implementation of the report. One of the recommendations in the report identified the development of grading and standardisation system in line with international best practice,” he said.