The Securities and Exchange Commission says it has partnered with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to develop standards for commodities meant for exports in a bid to grow the economy, provide jobs for Nigerians as well as provide the nation with foreign exchange.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the commission on Tuesday, stating that Nigeria’s agricultural sector in the country is expected to grow significantly in the future.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics’ first quarter report, Nigeria’s agric sector moderated by 0.90 per cent thus contributing to a decline in the overall Gross Domestic Product. This is the first time in seven years that the sector would be recording a decline in its growth.
The Director-General, SEC, Lamido Yuguda, disclosed that collaboration with SON had resulted in some standards being developed and being exposed to different markets with the feedback appreciable.
Yuguda said the development of these standards would pave the way for the export of the products to the international market which will in turn boost the Nigerian economy.
“This is a sector that the commission has been working strenuously to encourage both agricultural commodities and mineral commodities among others. 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 the issues of standardisation,” he said.
Yuguda added that the collaboration with SON was a step 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.”
Yuguda stated that as part of its implementation of the Capital Market Master Plan, the commission constituted a Technical Committee on Commodities Trading Ecosystem whose mandate is 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.