The Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] has expressed worry that credit to the agricultural sector in the last 10 years remains as low as 5 percent, severely hampering the sector’s growth in no small measures.
It said only the capital market that has the capacity to unlock better access to credit and finance for the sector through innovative financing structures and products.
SEC further said that the same scenario is playing out in the nation’s mineral sector where minerals are presently dug up on a subsistence basis and sold in markets around the world in a disorderly fashion.
The Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists on the commission’s planned International Conference for the Nigerian Commodities Market 2020 slated for Monday in Abuja.
Uduk however, stressed that despite the credit limitations, agriculture remained an important part capable of delivering on the country’s food security needs, providing jobs and increasing the country’s foreign exchange earnings.
According to her, 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 further explained that such an opportunity will also provide price discovery to market participants – producers and consumers alike, leading to efficiency and better decision making.
She added that the three existing commodities exchanges in Nigeria are 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 noted: ‘’These important points and benefits have dictated the Commission’s decision to host the International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market 2020 with the theme “Commodities Trading Ecosystem: Key to diversifying the Nigerian Economy.”
She said that the conference is expected to 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 partnerships available in the market as well as enable investors to access various investment opportunities across the value chain.
Earlier, the Chairperson, Market-wide Technical Committee on Commodities Trading Ecosystem, Mrs. Daisy Ekiwe, said that the conference will focus attention on the agricultural solid minerals and the oil and gas sub-sectors financing.