SEC reiterates commitment to develop commodity ecosystem in Nigeria

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday reiterated its commitment to developing the commodity ecosystem in the country.

Mr Francis Okafor, the Head of Investment Education, SEC told newsmen on the sidelines of the World Investors Week in Gwa-gwalada, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), that SEC was focused at increasing Nigeria’s commodity exchange.

Okafor said that the commodity ecosystem was mainly about commodities and agricultural products.

“In the early days, we had groundnut pyramids and the like but it is no longer in existence, they have died down and this is what the ecosystem is trying to bring up.

“Beyond oil, agriculture is a sub-sector that can increase and bring the country to limelight; we have seen that agriculture is going down and that is where the commodity ecosystem comes in.

“We are hoping to establish and increase a commodity exchange that we will compete with be better than what we have today in stock exchanges,’’ he said.

According to Okafor, a committee has already been set up with reports submitted on the ecosystem and it is presently at the implementation stage.

He said that the SEC was committed at ensuring all Nigerians were financially included, adding that part of ways in which the commission was ensuring this was by sensitisation of the public.

On the World Investors Week, he said it was annually celebrated by the international community under the International Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This programme is globally conducted all over the world; it is a programme that brings people, especially at the grassroots together and they are sensitised on how to invest in the capital market.

“We are creating awareness and letting people know the importance and the need to invest in the capital market and the financial industry.

“Financial inclusion is for the excluded, we encourage the people to bring in their money, deposit in banks and invest it so that it will circulate and stimulate the economy,’’ Okafor said.

Mr Emeka Onuora, the Head of Awareness Unit of Micro Pensions Department, National Pension Commission urged Nigerians to key into micro pension.

“Micro pension is part of the contributory pension scheme; it should not be seen as distinct or something different from the contributory pension but an extension of the contributory pension scheme.

“We have been emphasising on people who are working in government offices under the contributory pension scheme but this time around, we want to include those individuals working on their own.

“We believe that they should also have time to retire; it does not mean that because they are working on their own they should not retire.

“`So there is need for them to make provision for pension when they retire, thus the micro pension.

“In the micro pension, you are not compelled to make the payment, anyhow you want to do it, and there is no restriction, no limitations.

“The contribution you are making, about 40 per cent is kept for you that you can access if you are in need and the other 60 per cent is kept for your pension.

“This is 60 per cent and it is not just kept but invested by your pension fund administrator such that at the end of the day, you get both your contribution and interest from the investment,’’ Onuora said. (NAN)

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