The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said that a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem will help diversify the economy away from dependence on crude oil and enhance foreign exchange earnings, forex.
Osinbajo stated this at a roundtable on Nigerian Commodities Trading Ecosystem held by the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC in Lagos.
He said the Commodities Trading Ecosystem ecosystem is of paramount interest because Nigeria has an abundance of natural resources and accordingly a comparative advantage in agriculture, solid minerals and oil and gas, hence emphasis in the immediate term is the agricultural sector.
Represented by Dr. Yemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Osinbajo said the Federal Government attaches great importance to an active and vibrant capital market which will contribute to national growth and development.
According to the Vice President, “Agriculture (accordingly) occupies a pride of place in Federal Government policy, as stated on numerous occasions by the President and as articulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The importance of agriculture was underscored during the last recession as its growth then of about three to four per cent prevented a steeper decline. Agriculture is also important for food security and as a means of generating a quick production response.
“The agricultural sector is also important for job creation and employment and for producing the raw materials that go into agro-processing. Indeed, the subsisting Agriculture Promotion Policy specifically aims to ‘integrate agricultural commodity value chains into the broader supply chain of Nigerian and global industry’.
In her welcome address, Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, said the Commission is collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to implement the 10-year Capital Market Master Plan with the aim of making Nigeria’s capital market one of the world’s deepest and most liquid as well as the largest in Africa by 2025
“Currently, our potential as a nation is grossly underutilised in the area of commodities. There is, therefore, the need for these commodities to be efficiently harnessed to the benefits of our consumers, industries and governments.
“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 contribution affecting our agriculture and other commodities sub-sectors,” she stated.