Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday revealed that the Federal Government had embarked on plans to crash Nigeria’s dependence on crude oil for survival.
He said, a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem put in place by government would help diversify the economy and enhance Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
The vice president spoke at a roundtable on Nigerian Commodities Trading Ecosystem held on Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Lagos.
His words: “The Commodities Trading Ecosystem is of paramount interest because Nigeria has an abundance of natural resources and accordingly a comparative advantage in agriculture, solid minerals and oil and gas, hence emphasis in the immediate term is the agricultural sector.”
The Vice President who was represented by Dr. Yemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Osinbajo said the Federal Government attached great importance to an active and vibrant capital market which will contribute to national growth and development.
According to the Vice President, “Agriculture (accordingly) occupies a pride of place in Federal Government policy, as stated on numerous occasions by the President and as articulated in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The importance of agriculture was underscored during the last recession as its growth then 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.
“The agricultural sector is also important for job creation and employment and for producing the raw materials that go into agro-processing. Indeed, the subsisting Agriculture Promotion Policy specifically aims to ‘integrate agricultural commodity value chains into the broader supply chain of Nigerian and global industry’.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, in her address said the Commission was collaborating with all relevant stakeholders to implement the 10-year Capital Market Master Plan to ensure Nigeria’s capital market was one of the world’s deepest and most liquid as well as the largest in Africa by 2025
“Currently, our potential as a nation is grossly underutilised in the area of commodities. There is, therefore, the need for these commodities to be efficiently harnessed to the benefits of our consumers, industries and governments.
“We believe that if we can develop and institutionalise a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria, we can substantially address problems such as lack of storage, poor pricing, non-standardization as well as low foreign exchange contribution affecting our agriculture and other commodities sub-sectors,” she said.