The Securities and Exchange Commission is collaborating with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to enhance speedy approval and publication of standards relevant to the commodities trading ecosystem.
The Director General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda said this during a meeting with the SON management in Abuja.
Yuguda said the Commission as part of its implementation of the 10-year Capital Market Master Plan, constituted a Technical Committee on commodities Trading Ecosystem whose mandate was to identify challenges of the existing framework and develop a Roadmap for a vibrant ecosystem.
Yuguda said, “A committee comprising of various stakeholders including the SON was set up to drive the implementation of the report. One of the recommendations in the report identified development of grading and standardisation system in line with international best practise”.
Yuguda stated that it is globally recognised that a unique feature of a commodities exchange is the standardisation of the commodities traded on its platform.
“However, the determination of these grades and standards is dependent upon approved local standards which should take into cognisance internationally accepted standards. Imbibing international standards for export commodities cannot be compromised if the exchanges have to play a pivotal role in export promotion”.
The SEC Boss said in recognition of the fact that the statutory responsibility of standard setting in Nigeria lies with the SON, the Commission on behalf of all stakeholders seeks to partner with the SON. This he said is with a view to ensuring the expedited approval and publication of standards for commodities in the ecosystem; expressing the conviction that the establishment of relevant standards would be transformational for the Nigerian Commodities Trading Ecosystem.
According to Yuguda, “Standards provide consumers with an assurance of fitness of purpose, processors with commodities specifications, and serves as reference point against which features of commodities can be compared. Other benefits include increase in value to smallholder farmers due to premium paid on high quality commodities, reduction of post-harvest losses due to standard post-harvest handling, packaging and storage, as well as increased employment opportunities through the setup of warehouses and assaying companies to provide quality assurance services.
“More benefits include global acceptance of commodities produced in Nigeria for export leading to increased foreign earnings, increase in number of processing plants in Nigeria due to better quality of raw materials and overall development of the Nigerian economy”.
The SEC DG added that the Commission is committed to mobilizing relevant stakeholders in the Commodities Trading Ecosystem to provide the support needed by the SON to achieve the approval and publication of the commodities standards, adding standard setting is a project of national importance and the SEC along with other stakeholders will work with the SON in the achievement of this objective and by extension national food security and self-sufficiency.
In his remarks, the Director General of SON, Mallam Farouk Salim said the SON is excited to collaborate with the SEC as it seeks to develop the capital market in Nigeria and the Nigerian economy at large.
Salim assured that the SON is willing to work with the SEC to ensure that the country is able to export commodities of high standards and attract much needed foreign exchange.
He said, “We are committed to helping our people especially the farmers and support them to attain food sufficiency. If there is standardisation, the banks will be willing to finance the farmers and the commodities can be exported for the much needed foreign exchange to boost our economy.
“We need to restore our pride as a nation, if our amenities are up to standard, we will not import many of the things we cuurently import and thereby boost our economy. Our famers will be happy to produce because they know they will earn good income from what they do”.
He solicited for the support of the business community, farmers, IT specialists as well as the media to pull resources together and make a difference in the Commodities Trading Ecosystem.