The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced its partnership with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to establish standards for commodities intended for export. The aim of this collaboration is to stimulate economic growth, generate employment opportunities for Nigerians, and increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
In a statement released by the commission on Tuesday, it was revealed that Nigeria’s agricultural sector is expected to experience significant growth in the coming years. However, the first-quarter report from the National Bureau of Statistics indicated a 0.90% decline in the agricultural sector, contributing to an overall decrease in the Gross Domestic Product. This is the first time in seven years that the sector has witnessed such a decline.
Lamido Yuguda, the Director-General of SEC, shared that the collaboration with SON has resulted in the development of certain standards that have been introduced to various markets, yielding positive feedback. These standards will facilitate the export of products to international markets, thereby boosting the Nigerian economy.
Yuguda emphasized the importance of promoting agricultural and mineral commodities, among others, which the commission has been actively encouraging. He expressed that Nigeria possesses abundant agricultural resources and has the potential to excel in the global market. However, without proper standards, many agricultural products from Nigeria face rejection when attempting to enter international markets. Yuguda noted that smaller countries with standardized agricultural products, particularly fruits, are able to export successfully. He highlighted the significance of the collaboration with SON in addressing this issue.
The SEC Director-General regarded the partnership with SON as a promising step in the right direction, and he foresees substantial growth in the agricultural sector in the near future. He also mentioned the commission’s collaboration with the Ministry of Solid Minerals, acknowledging the opportunities present in that sector. To ensure sustainable mining practices, Yuguda stressed the need for cooperation between state governments and the Ministry of Mines, along with standardized licensing by the government.
As part of the implementation of the Capital Market Master Plan, the SEC established a Technical Committee on Commodities Trading Ecosystem. This committee’s mandate is to identify existing framework challenges and develop a roadmap for a thriving ecosystem. A committee comprising various stakeholders, including SON, has been formed to oversee the implementation of the committee’s report. One of the report’s recommendations involves the development of a grading and standardization system in line with international best practices.
In addition to collaborating with SON, Yuguda highlighted the SEC’s efforts in working with the National Insurance Commission, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals and Mines. These collaborations focus on capacity building, standard setting, and domestic and international advocacy to further develop the sector.