The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stressed the need for standardisation of the country’s commodities to enhance global acceptance and boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, said this at the Commodities Standards Sensitisation workshop organised by the commission in partnership with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Monday in Lagos.
Yuguda said that the Federal Government’s drive to achieve a sustainably diversified economy would be achieved by ensuring adherence to standards to boost the country’s competitiveness in the global market.
According to him, the establishment of relevant standards will significantly transform the Nigerian commodities trading ecosystem.
“As Nigerians strive to achieve a sustainably diversified economy, given the current drive to guarantee food security, there is an urgent need for more complementary comforts from the government, regulators and critical stakeholders to ensure the approval and effective adoption of appropriate local standard benchmark against the international practice to establish quality and reverse the unwarranted situation of perennial rejection of the Nigerian produced commodities,” he said.
Yuguda, represented by the Executive Commissioner Operations, SEC, Mr Dayo Obisan, said the unique feature of the commodities exchanges globally was the standardisation of the commodities traded on the platform.
He noted that each commodity traded on the exchange was graded by quality, size, weight and other criteria.
Yuguda said that the determination of these grades and standards was dependent upon improved local standards which would take into cognizance internationally accepted standards.
He noted that SON had the statutory responsibility for standard setting in Nigeria
In recognition of this fact, he said that the Executive Management of the Commission, on behalf of all stakeholders, engaged with the management team SON, to ensure the expedited approval and publication of standards commodities.
He observed that the establishment of relevant standards would significantly transform the Nigerian commodities trading ecosystem.
“Sequel to that engagement, the ecosystem roadmap implementation committee comprising key stakeholders has been working on the development of grading and standardisation system.
“The initial stage of the development process will concentrate on delivery of standards for agricultural commodities,” he said.
The director-general disclosed that SEC was working with SON to create awareness for existing agricultural commodities standard.
“We strongly believe this is a project of national importance, given that commodities exchange value chain has significant value and can transform our economy.
“It is, therefore, my expectation for this workshop and other stakeholders’ engagement to serve as a rallying point for inclusive standards development process.
“As the ecosystem is driven towards standardisation, the broader society will be impacted for greater prosperity,” he said.
Yuguda recalled that SEC, as part of the implementation of the 10-year capital market masterplan, constituted a technical committee in the commodities trading ecosystem.
He said that the mandate of the committee was to identify challenges with the existing framework and develop a roadmap for a vibrant ecosystem.
In his remarks, SON Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, said that the organisation was willing to collaborate with relevant stakeholders.
He said that this was to ensure that the development of standards follow the best international principles of standard development.
Represented by Dr Omolara Okunlola, Head Food Group, Salim said the organisation, in line with its mandate, would continue to promote standards and ensure it followed international principles.
He said that SON would continue to promote the confidence of Nigerians in Nigerian produce and ensure that SON in line with the Federal Government’s various policies was developed in such areas.
“For the first time in history, we have the strategy already outlined under the Nigerian National Standardisation Strategy. If you go through the strategy, you can see we have listed out standards to be developed.
“Under the agriculture, we have energy, transport, industry, a focus on SMEs, we also have for the health sector.
“The strategy is a living strategy, as policies from the government come up, we try to update the strategy,” he said.
Speaking on rejection of Nigerian produce outside the country, Salim said that rejection of produce was not due to lack of standards but non-compliance to standards.
“If you want to export any produce, try to contact SON; we have 42 offices presently in Nigeria.
“So, when you get to know what you really need in relation to that product you want to export, it will reduce rejection.
“Our standards are based on international best practices, we are custodians of the standards but standards are developed by the populace, not by us.
“We are just given the mandate to be in the custody of those standards, make sure that when you want to develop it, get everyone, as many people that are interested, as many stakeholders we can identify, we contact them and we follow those principles,” Salim added.
He listed the principles as transparency, openness, stakeholders involvement and concensus.