ABUJA: Ambassador Mariam Katagum, Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, said Halal product certification would stimulate investment in Nigeria‘s agricultural sector and create wealth for the nation.
Katagum said this at the launch of a 14-member Technical Committee on the Development of a Roadmap and Operational Framework for Halal Certification in Nigeria.
The minister said Nigeria needed to enter the huge and profitable halal market economy, adding that certification would give Nigerian-made products a boost in the global market.
Halal products are products that comply with all regulations regarding food safety, hygiene and health, with a composition that does not contain a single ingredient prohibited by Muslims.
According to her, there is a growing demand for halal certified products globally, especially among the large Muslim population in the Middle East, North Africa, others who presented a lucrative chain for the food market.
“As of today, the global consumer base for halal products is estimated to be around 1.9 billion Muslims in 112 countries and the halal market is estimated to be worth US$2.6 trillion.
“The halal market is a huge and profitable segment of the economy. Therefore, we cannot ignore the importance of assuring our local and international consumers that our products are halal certified.
“This certification will give our products a boost in local and international markets. Their goal is to increase the patronage and consumption of products coming from Nigeria, not just non-Muslims,” he said.
“The ministry proactively decided to establish a committee to address the lack of synergy in the Halal standards institution in the country, as well as Nigeria’s inability to access the global halal market.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure Nigeria taps into the huge halal market to maximum benefit.
“The members of the technical committee have been carefully selected to develop the operational and strategic framework for Nigeria’s halal certification process and make Nigeria a hub for halal products in Africa,” he said.
Katagum therefore advised the committee members to diligently carry out their task, in order to deliver proper policy-advancing recommendations to strengthen Nigeria’s halal sector.
Ms. Evelyn Ngige, a permanent member of the ministry, said that the inauguration of the technical committee was a demonstration of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria benefits from the halal industry.
Ngige, Representative for Commodities and Exchange at the Ministry, Mr. Sulieman Audu, said there was a need to harness halal products and services for export to increase foreign exchange earnings.
He said the inauguration of the committee was imperative as the ministry recognized that existing challenges abound due to the lack of halal certifications on our products, restricting the benefits of nations.
According to her, this is in line with the current administration’s economic diversification agenda, which seeks to develop the non-oil sector.
“We need to take advantage of the halal products and services sector for export to increase our foreign exchange earnings, create additional jobs and wealth for the nation.”
He said the committee was committed to diligently carrying out its task of raising Nigeria’s position among halal exporters globally and more importantly in Africa.
Ngige assured the committee of the ministry’s support to ensure that the committee carries out its work without hindrance.
Mr. Nour Hanga, chairman of the committee, commended the ministry for its efforts to develop a strong halal industry in Nigeria.
Hanga said that the global demand for Halal products has seen continuous growth and could offer huge benefits for Nigerian companies.
“Today, in many parts of the world, consumers are not just buying food, they are buying organic and natural halal products for health and safety, among others.
“The global halal food market saw sales of $1.9 trillion in 2020 and is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2024.
“This growing market is borderless and therefore ready to do business with Nigeria,” he said.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that committee members were drawn from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) and the organized private sector involved in the Halal value chain.
The ministries are Industry, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
Others are the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Federation of Nigerian Agricultural Commodities Associations, and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
The rest are the Halal Certification Authority, Halal Compliance Food Safety Limited, Jaiz International Halal Certification and Halal Certification Center Nigeria Limited.