Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has emphasized the need for a vibrant Commodities Exchange to boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
Ms Mary Uduk, the Acting Director-General of SEC said this in a statement signed by SEC’s Head of Media, Mrs Efe Ebelo on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Uduk spoke at the opening ceremony of a training for Senior Managers and Management Staff of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) in Abuja.
The Director-General, represented by the Head of Department, Registration, Exchanges and Market Infrastructure of SEC, Mr Emomotimi Agama, said the nation needed to harness the full potential in the commodities market.
His words: “The Capital Market Master Plan did an analysis of where we are and where we want to be as the leading capital market in Africa.
“One of the areas stressed upon is the commodities market which is very important, but ours is one of the least developed.
“The Nigerian economy is mainly agrarian driven, all states of the federation have exportable quantities of commodities and we have some of the highest grades in the world.
“Government wants to diversify to agriculture and so we need to be able to export some of these commodities.
“If the farmers do very well, the earnings of the country will be boosted.”
She said that the commodities could be exported, while on the other hand, industries could be set up that would employ a large number of Nigeria’s teeming population.
Her words: “If this could be properly developed, Nigeria would be better for it.”
Uduk said to achieve this, a better pricing, transparency and quality was required, adding that these were what the government set to achieve with the farmers:
“The crude form they are trading now does not provide the farmers the benefit of price discovery, transparency, among others.
“The only way to achieve these is to have an exchange, hence the need arose to set up the technical committee to look holistically at all the issues.”
Uduk said that it was important to train the IST officials empowered by Investments and Securities Act, ISA 2007 to adjudicate on capital market issues:
“It realized that this success in the commodities market will bring about disputes. Once the exchange becomes very vibrant, there is bound to be issues and disputes.
“By virtue of the ISA 2007, the Investments and Securities Tribunal, IST is the adjudicator in event of such issues in the capital market.
“It is then important that the IST, which has this responsibility is properly aware of these issues and the types of disputes that will arise.”
The training was to create a foundation that could be built upon to ensure disputes were quickly resolved to increase investors’ confidence and deepen the market.