SEC Moves to Ensure Nigerian Agricultural Produce Meets Specifications for Export

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is taking steps to ensure that Nigerian agricultural produce meets specifications for exports, the Director-General of the agency, Mr Lamido Yuguda, has informed the management of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation (NAIC).

Mr Yuguda said the reason behind this is to deepen the commodities trading ecosystem further and make it a potent way forward in Nigeria’s quest for sustainable foreign exchange (FX) earnings and economic development.

At a meeting with NAIC over the weekend in Abuja, the SEC chief said Nigerian has earned low forex “in the past few months [due to] low oil production and oil theft,” which has often resulted in FX “shortages and balance-of-payment problems.”

The SEC DG said there are markets that need these commodities that are produced in Nigeria but lamented that the only impediment at the moment is a lack of standards which he stated is the reason why some of the commodities are not being accepted in the international market for now, noting that his organisation was willing to work with NAIC in a bid to be able to mitigate various risks in the ecosystem when they happen.

He said the commission, as part of its implementation of the 10-year Capital Market Master Plan, constituted a Technical Committee on the 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 (Standards Organisation of Nigeria), was set up to drive the implementation of the report.

“One of the recommendations in the report identified the development of a grading and standardisation system in line with international best practices. We are therefore willing to also work with NAIC to grow the commodities sector,” he stated.

Mr Yuguda stated that the SEC and NAIC have a lot of things in common as both organisations are government agencies working towards the growth of the commodities sector of the economy.

“The SEC has been doing a lot of things in the commodities sector, and the role of NAIC in this sector cannot be overemphasised and based on that, we would like to explore areas of collaboration to see how far we can help grow that sector together,” he said.

“This sector is key to our country’s future. If we can harness it, it will greatly improve the economy of this country,” the DG disclosed.

Also speaking, Executive Commissioner Operations of the SEC, Mr Dayo Obisan, said enormous opportunities abound in the entire agricultural value chain that, if well harnessed, would lead to the further development of the nation’s economy.

“There has been a couple of developments in the commodities side; the entire value chain is quite large. The farmers want someone to take up the crops, even local companies in Nigeria can do that. They need quality seeds as well as the funds to buy them. If the sector is not de-risked, it will be difficult to attract investors.

“There are a lot of things we can do together, and we are looking forward to this partnership with you,” he added.

In her remarks, the Managing Director of NAIC, Mrs Folashade Joseph, stated that her organisation was willing and available to push forward any initiative that will add value to the population and the nation’s economy.

“It is a privilege to do this, as things begin to evolve, we try to push forward what will add value to the population. Our focus is on commodities. There are various evolving issues during the course of our business as insurers because we manage across the value chain,” she said.

The NAIC MD added that in areas of storage and insurance issues, the collaboration would be of great benefit to all parties involved and assured that NAIC is ready to provide their expertise in anything that will add value to the commodities ecosystem.

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