The Federal Government has inaugurated a 14 man Technical Committee on the Development of a Roadmap and Operational Framework for Halal Certification in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum officially inaugurated the technical Committee in Abuja.
Amb. Katagum noted that “There is clearly an increasing demand for Halal certified products globally, especially, amongst the large Muslim population in the Middle East, North Africa, South Africa, South Asia, the former Soviet Union and China, which presents a lucrative chain for the food market. As at today, the global consumer base of Halal products is estimated to be about 1.9 billion Muslims across 112 countries, and the Halal market is estimated to be worth trillions of US Dollars.
“And Nigeria’s Muslim population is estimated at about 52% of the nation’s population and adherents of Islam are usually selective in making Halal choices when it comes to lifestyle and product consumptions. Aside from the Islamic population, there is a huge number of people around the world that also prefer to consume Halal products based on healthy lifestyle choices”.
The Minister further explained that, countries around the world have made it easier for such consumers to make easy selections at supermarkets, shops etc and Nigeria should not be left out.
She added that ” Halal market is a huge and profitable segment of the economy and cannot afford to ignore the importance of assuring our local and international consumers that our food and beverage products are Halal certified and comply with Islamic Law. Such certifications would give Nigeria products a boost in local and international markets.
Also, Halal certification significantly enhances the marketability of products outside the country and the document is an important requirement on importing countries”.
The Minister acknowledged that the Halal concept is at its embryonic stage in Nigeria and has largely been uncoordinated, with lack of synergy between relevant institutions and the situation has led to absence of uniformity in instituting Halal standards in the country, as well as the inability of Nigeria to tap into the Halal global market.
She also noted that there is huge potential in the Halal sub-sector with the global Halal market estimated to be about 2.6 trillion US dollars and countries like Morocco and Malaysia are already benefiting from the Halal economy with Morocco exporting to over 23 countries and Malaysia earning about $7 billion in exports.
She pointed out that Nigeria has not been able to take advantage of the huge market to boost foreign earnings,increase investment and adopt the concept to contribute to the growth and development of the economy, hence the Ministry proactively decided to establish a committee to address the issue by studying the various models being used by other successful countries and developing a tailor-made Strategic Plan and Operational Framework for Nigeria.
The Minister of State expressed optimism that “the success of the committee would stimulate Investment across Nigeria’s agricultural sector; lead to increased productivity; chart a sustainable course towards food security; generate employment and create wealth for the Nation and its people”.
The Minister disclosed that members of the Technical Committee were carefully selected from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Organized Private Sector (OPS) involved in the Halal Value-chain and is being chaired by Mr. Nour Sani Hanga from Halal Standard Development Trust (HASDAT) and co- chaired by the Director Commodity and Export Department in the Ministry, Mr. Suleman Adebayo Audu.
Amb.Katagum therefore urged members of the technical committee to diligently carry out their assignments with integrity and transparency so as to deliver suitable recommendations that would drive the policy thrust to strengthen Nigeria’s Halal sector and make Nigeria a hub for Halal products in Africa and around the world.
The Terms of Reference to guide the work of the Technical Committee included to develop a workplace for the Technical Committee; develop the operational and strategic framework for Nigeria’s Halal certification process;identify all existing Halal certification bodies and ensure uniformity in their modus operandi; identify international Linkages and partnerships for the development of the Nigerian Halal industry; develop advocacy and Sensitization strategies for the Halal industry in Nigeria; advise on how to ensure and promote collaboration and synergy among stakeholders in both the public and private sectors on Halal; and to consider any other matter that will develop and promote Halal in Nigeria.
Earlier in her opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Evelyn N. Ngige who was ably represented by the Director, Commodity and Export Department in the Ministry, Mr. Suleman Adebayo Audu stated that the inauguration of the Technical Committee signified the Ministry’s commitment towards ensuring that Nigeria benefits from the Halal Industry which is in line with the economic diversification agenda of the present administration to develop the non-oil sector.
The Permanent Secretary expressed the Ministry’s commitment towards providing relevant support required in ensuring that the national assignment given to the Committee is accomplished without hindrance.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Nour S. Hanga in his response on behalf of other members thanked the Ministry for taking the lead in the effort to develop a robust Halal industry in Nigeria.
He added that with the crop of professionals in the Committee coupled with the expected necessary support from the Ministry, the Committee would deliver on its mandates.