By Obas Esiedesa
In a bid to ensure that farmers and miners across the country have access to credits and a platform to trade their products, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is to hold an international conference on Nigerian Commodities Market in Abuja.
The Acting Director General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk who briefed journalists in Abuja on Wednesday on the need for the conference said it was time to create a market where agricultural produce and mined resources are traded.
The conference has the theme “Commodities Trading Ecosystem: Key to diversifying the Nigerian Economy.”
Ms Uduk who applauded the present administration’s effort aimed at diversifying the economy from oil and gas dependence, noted that agriculture holds a huge potential for the country.
According to her, “It is necessary, first, to recognize and applaud the Federal Government’s actions in diversifying the Nigerian economy and moving us away from an overreliance on one commodity.
“Agriculture remains an important part of that plan holding the potential of delivering on the country’s food security needs, providing jobs and increasing our foreign exchange earnings.
“Despite this potential of the sector to deliver on these important metrics, credit to the sector has remained less than five percent of bank lending for the past 10 years severely hampering its development”.
The SEC boss explained that “the capital market has the capacity to unlock better access to credit and finance for the sector through innovative financing structures and products.
“This is also true for Nigeria’s abundant minerals, especially the solid ones. Many of these minerals are presently dug up on a subsistence basis and sold in markets around the world in disorderly fashion.
“It is high time we created a market where they would be traded in an orderly manner, to the benefit of the Nigerian economy. A structured market for commodities will provide a fairer playing field for local market participants, while providing the required infrastructure for the international market to be exposed to Nigerian commodities”, she added.
Uduk stressed that the market will also provide price discovery to market participants – producers and consumers alike – leading to efficiency and better decision making.
“The three existing commodities exchanges in Nigeria backed by robust public participation from key stakeholders notably financiers, donors, public stakeholders’/ government officials, and international commodity exchanges as well as the larger Nigerian retail investment community can unlock a vast amount of capital in the short to medium term”.
She said the “ICNCM2020 will gather relevant stakeholders in the commodities ecosystem to consider the most pertinent issues in growing the ecosystem in Nigeria, with the end goal of creating an enabling environment for the deployment of innovative solutions that improve processes, products, productivity, and the partnerships available in the market as well as enable investors to access various investment opportunities across the value chain.
“We therefore invite all stakeholders to join us at the conference; bringing their ideas, thoughts and perspectives to the discourse of how we can build a robust commodities market in our dear country, Nigeria”, she said.