LCFE, Heritage Bank, others unlock $1trn commodities ecosystem for industrialisation

LAGOS Commodities and Future Exchange (LCFE), Heritage Bank Plc, Capital Market players and other stakeholders have unlocked the $1trillion commodities ecosystem as an avenue to diversify the economy from a crude oil dependent economy to other critical sectors.

This was revealed at the commissioning ceremony and official launch of Lagos Commodities & Futures Exchange, with the theme, “New Order, Driving Nigeria’s Economy Through the Commodities Ecosystem,” recently in Lagos.

This feat, according to key stakeholders, will catalyse and transform the Nigerian economy to create value, wealth, restore growth and build a global competitive economy.

Giving his goodwill message, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo, specifically stated that as the lead settlement bank in partnership with key stakeholders,  critical to the success of this project, it considered the launch of LCFE as huge potential to unlock the opportunities and wealth of the four asset classes- Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Oil and Gas and Currencies.

“I believe that this is the beginning of how we are going to possibly create values in areas that hitherto we have taken for granted. First thing it will bring about is a sustainable commodity trading ecosystem, being a catalyst for capital formation, unlocking the long-time financing for the solid mineral and mining space. A frontline push to diversify the economy of this country from oil,” he emphasised.

Hinting on the partnership, Sekibo explained, “The Collaboration between Heritage Bank and LCFE is designed to align the market to transparent price discovery, standardised platform for trading of commodities across defined asset classes and straight through processing to settlement.”

A statement signed by Ozena Utulu, Ag. Group Head, Corporate Communications Heritage Bank, noted that Sekibo affirmed that the promotion of investment in commodities ecosystem by Heritage Bank in partnership with LCFE in its various assets traded Agriculture, Solid Minerals, Oil and Gas and Currencies would increase liquidity support from local commodity exportation to boost the race for the $200billion in FX repatriation and reduce the pressure on exchange rate.

Sekibo added that the partnership was one of the many initiatives of the bank’s foundational objectives of wealth creation, preservation, and transfer across generation.

In his address, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who appreciated the efforts of all the stakeholders, stated that the successful commissioning of LCFE will better fulfil the catalysts of growth which is to attract cutting-edge ideas and innovation and improve the inflow of financial transactions and great ideas that will enable businesses to flourish.

This, according to him, will improve the living environment, for businesses, and for the investments in Lagos and our country.

Akin Akeredolu-Ale, MD/CEO, LCFE said, “As we are all aware, the Capital size of the Nigerian Commodities Ecosystem is so large and like I have said in the past, it can be considered as a $1trillion economy cutting across Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Solid Minerals and Currency. With a capitalisation this large, it was important to lay the right foundation as the means determined the end for us and we could not afford not to get it right.”

He said the Exchange identified that Nigeria’s crude oil has been traded extensively outside the country in Switzerland and other areas by large scale trading companies.

“Nigeria produces only high value, low sulphur content, light crude oils – Antan Blend, Bonny Light, Bonny Medium, Brass Blend, Escravos Light, Forcados Blend, IMA, Odudu Blend, Pennington Light, Qua-Iboe Light and Ukpokiti This makes Nigeria’s crude very desirable.

“By way of sovereignty, our oil and gas products should be traded and priced within Nigeria. 400,000bbls of arbitrage can be traded on the LCFE. Whenever prices drop, we can plan for our trades in the future. This will boost the balance sheet, enhance liquidity, and shore up the value of the Naira; External reserve will become both external and internal reserves. The Exchange is currently setting up frameworks and structures to achieve this and more details will unfold in due time,” Akeredolu-Ale explained.

He noted that one of the asset classes in which LCFE has made tremendous giant strides in is the Solid Minerals asset class.

“We noticed there was an urgent need for structure, regulation, funding, and data collation in this sector and this is where Commodities Exchanges play strategic roles in introducing structure to this ecosystem,” he stated.

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The PDP spokesman recalled how the opposition party had on various occasions alerted that the APC government had ceded sovereignty over a large portion of our country to terrorists, “many of whom were imported into our country by the APC.”

He further stated: “From the video, in a brazen manner, terrorists as non-state actors boldly showed their faces, boasting, admitting and confirming their participation in the Kuje Prison break, some of whom were former prison inmates who were either jailed or awaiting trial for their previous terrorism act against our country.

“Nigerians can equally recall the confession by the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai that the APC government knows the plans and whereabouts of the terrorists but failed to act.

According to Ologunagba, about 18,000 Nigerians have been killed by terrorists between 2020 and 2022 “as the criminals continue to be emboldened by the failures and obvious complicity of the APC and to which the PDP had always drawn attention.”

“This is not politics; this is about humanity and leadership, which leadership sadly and unfortunately is missing in our country at this time,” he said.

The PDP added that it is appalled by “the lame response by the apparently helpless, clueless and deflated Buhari Presidency, wherein it told an agonizing nation that President Buhari “has done all and even more than what was expected of him as Commander in Chief by way of morale, material and equipment support to the military…”

“This is a direct admission of incapacity and failure by the Buhari Presidency and the APC. At such a time, in other climes, the President directly leads the charge and takes drastic measures to rescue and protect his citizens.

“In time of adversity, the President transmutes into Consoler-in-Chief to give hope and succour to the citizens. Painfully, Nigeria does not have a President who cares and can stand as Consoler-in-Chief to the citizens.

“It has now become very imperative for Nigerians to take note and realize that the only solution to this unfortunate situation is to hold the APC government accountable. We must come together as a people, irrespective of our political, ethnic and religious affiliations to resist the fascist-leaning tendencies of the APC administration.

Ologunagba called for an urgent meeting of the National Council of State to advise on the way to go over the nation’s worsening insecurity.

“Our nation must not fall. The resilient Nigerian spirit and ‘can-do- attitude’ must be rekindled by all to prevail on the President to immediately and without further delay, accede to the demand by the PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians to convene a special session of the National Council of State to find a lasting solution since the President has, in his own admission, come to his wit’s end,” the PDP spokesman declared.

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