• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Nigeria gears up for commodity trading as pressure intensifies for economy diversification

Yemi Osinbajo

Pressed by recent global developments, Nigerian government authorities are now discussing various ways of diversifying the economy, including developing a vibrant commodity trading platform that would help create jobs and reduce high poverty levels.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said developing a commodities trading ecosystem had become important considering that Nigeria’s agriculture and solid minerals sectors present emerging opportunities to be further enhanced and fully explored to spur growth in the economy.

“With a vibrant commodities market, jobs will be created, poverty will reduce and the macroeconomic situation of the country will improve,” Osinbajo noted at the 1stInternational Conference on Nigerian Commodities market with the theme, “Commodities Trading Ecosystem: Key to Diversifying the Nigerian Economy” organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Abuja.

Represented by Maryam Katagun, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, the Vice President stated that Nigeria is endowed with favorable atmospheric conditions for farming as well as abundant natural resources and teaming youthful population.

According to him, efficient use of these resources will benefit both the public and private sectors of the economy.

Osinbajo said the need to develop other channels of generating revenue and foreign exchange is critical which is further underscored by the recent drop in the global price of crude oil – a major threat to achieving planned government expenditure.

He said one of Federal government efforts in this regard is plans to establish Agricultural Industrial Parks (AIPs) across the six-Geopolitical Zones, to enable it create jobs, drive food security and harness the comparative advantage in each zone.

He said the conference was well suited for this time as government identifies and maps out strategies for developing our commodities markets as a major driver of the economic diversification efforts.

In her address, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, noted that the theme of the conference has always been relevant in Nigeria’s national discourse as several national plans, programmes and projects have targeted diversifying the production and revenue sectors of the economy.

According to her, while achievements have been made in these areas, there are needs to do more ensure that the country’s production and export base more robust and less vulnerable to external shocks as well as provide more opportunities for the growing population.

She noted that the recent Coronavirus outbreak has further strengthened the federal government’s resolve to diversifying the economy hence the theme of the conference.

“Through this conference, I can see the Capital Market community add its voice to the need to further diversify our economy, while also suggesting that one of the ways to this is to develop a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem.”

In her opening remarks, Acting Director General of the SEC, Mary Uduk said one of the key initiatives of the 10 year Capital Market Master Plan is the development of a thriving commodities trading ecosystem as part of the capital market’s contribution to the national economy.

According to her, while Nigeria is well endowed with agricultural, metals and energy commodities, the huge potential in these areas are unrealised.

She raised optimism that the capital market could be an avenue to unlock these potential and diversify the nation’s economy, while providing jobs, creating values and contributing to governments’ revenue.

“We believe that if we can develop and institutionalise a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria, we can substantially address problems such as lack of storage, poor pricing, non-standardization, as well as low foreign exchange earnings affecting our agriculture and other commodities sub-sectors”.

Senator, Ibikunle Amosun, Chairman Senate Committee on Capital Market, while commending SEC for organizing the programme noted that the conference will provide a platform for stakeholders to rub minds and cross fertilize ideas for the purpose of diversifying Nigeria’s economy.

 

Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja