ACCI, stakeholders urge Nigeria to tap into halal for economic growth

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industrial (ACCI) has urged the Federal Government to take advantage of the global business potential of halal for improved economic growth.
Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, the ACCI President made the call on Tuesday, at the 2021 Halal Expo, jointly organised by Chamber and Abuja Trade Centre.
Abubakar, who described the Expo as “first of its kind”, urged the Nigerians to harness the huge potential of the halal business model to enhance financial prosperity.
“Halal is an Arabic word which means lawful and permissible. It should not be confused with sharia-compliant, but everything that is sharia-compliant is also halal.
“Halal cuts across religious divides, as Christians also do not permit certain businesses that concern usury or consumption of certain foods and beverages.
“The halal business covers finance, manufacturing, hospitality, fashion and many more.’’
Abubakar said that the Expo would help in creating more awareness on halal business potentialities.
According to him, the expo will also galvanise and harmonise regulatory framework for halal businesses, escalate investment opportunities in halal and expand Nigeria’s outlook in the halal market globally.
“The halal market is at its infancy stage and this expo will help promote it,” he said.
The President of Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr John Udeagbala, expressed his association’s willingness to support the development of halal in Nigeria.
Represented by Mr Tijani Ibrahim, the Second Vice President of NACCIMA, Udeagbala urged Nigerians to key in and take advantage of the three trillion dollars global halal potential.
“The global halal industry is valued at three trillion dollars and it is good for Nigeria to key into it,” he advised.
He called for a fully certified halal regulatory body to help provide safer and healthier products and services for Nigerians.
Ibrahim cited inadequate awareness about Islamic banking, double taxation and ignorance on the workings and full potentialities of the halal industry as some of the constraints in promoting halal businesses.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Director-General of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) described the expo as long overdue.
In his goodwill message delivered by Mrs Chika Ibekwe from NEPZA, Adesugba said that Nigeria had been slow to tap into the huge global halal economy.
“With over two billion consumers of halal food and other products in the world and with an economy inching towards almost three trillion dollars annually, this event has enormous significance.’’
Adesugba further said that the halal initiative was also integral in Nigeria’s economic diversification plans.
The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has called for the establishment of world-class Halal Trade/Marketing Centre to enhance local producers’ access to the multi-billion-naira trade.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA made the call in his presentation at the Halal Expo, organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The halal concept is valued at about three billion dollars Islamic business model that focusses on opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors of specialised food, products and services used by over two billion Islamic and non-Islamic faithful globally.
Adesugba, in a statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA expressed readiness to partner with ACCI to set up the centre which would be devoted to developing the Halal economy ecosystem.
“The centre will dwell on market intelligence, halal compliance, and growth support services. It will be the first of its kind in Africa and it will spur Nigeria’s leading role in the African halal market.
“For us at the special economic zones, we are resolved to support the emerging halal industry by deploying global best practices.
“We are studying the rich opportunities for investors in the halal industry and how our special economic zones can accelerate the expansion of the industry in Nigeria,’’ the NEPZA CEO said.
Adesugba also said “NEPZA, under my his authority had conducted worldwide studies on how special economic zones could better collaborate with the halal industry to deepen its presence.
“We have adopted some preliminary positions designed to position Nigeria as the Halal hub for sub-Saharan Africa.’’
According to him, the first focus of the strategy is to attract halal focused investors.
He further explained that there was need to collaborate and attract organisations, associations, accreditation bodies as well as advisory firms, to support the entire Halal value chain right from product development to sourcing, production, logistics, sales and marketing.
The managing director further pointed that there was need to promote halal standards as a way of attracting enterprises within the halal industry.
“The emerging halal market is to move from importing halal goods to producing same at home. Our special economic zones in Kano and others provide fertile grounds for halal enterprises to establish and even reach African markets,’’ he said.
According to him, NEPZA’s management team will work with credible halal industry operators to design incentives to facilitate a strong partnership between Authority and the halal industry.
“I, therefore, bring the best wishes of the special economic zones community of Nigeria to this innovative gathering. This expo is long overdue as Nigeria has been slow to tap into the ever-increasing halal global economy.’’