Vibrant commodities exchange will boost revenues, foreign exchange, says Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday underscored the need for a vibrant commodities ecosystem to aid diversification from oil to non-oil sectors and boost the nation’s revenues and foreign exchange (Forex) earnings.
Speaking at a Roundtable on Nigerian Commodities Trading Ecosystem organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Lagos, Osinbajo said the country has abundant natural resources and comparative advantage in agriculture, solid minerals and oil and gas.
He said if the country pays adequate attention to agriculture, it would boost food security, enhance job creation and facilitate production of raw materials for agro-processing.
To achieve this objective, Osinbajo, who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Yemi Dipeolu, pointed out that the capital market must operate at optimum level, even as the implementation of its 10-year master plan remains a priority.
“Agriculture occupies a pride of place in Federal Government’s policy, as stated severally by President Muhammadu Buhari and as articulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“The importance of agriculture was underscored during the last recession as its growth 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.
Acting Director General of the SEC, Mary Uduk said the commission was collaborating with relevant stakeholders to implement the master plan and make Nigeria one of the world’s most liquid and Africa’s largest economy by 2025She said one of the crucial initiatives of the plan was to develop a thriving commodities trading ecosystem and fully utilise the nation’s potentials.
“We believe that if we can develop a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria, we can substantially address lack of storage, poor pricing, non-standardisation and low contribution of foreign exchange affecting our commodities sub-sector,” she said.
She stated that the role of commodity exchanges were critical to economic growth, especially in the areas of price transparency and value addition to farmers, ensuring quality products for buyers and providing investment opportunities across the value chain.Uduk said Nigeria was still challenged in the area of transiting from a informal commodity trading system to one consummated on the platforms of commodity exchanges.