The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has called for government action on Halal standardisation and regulations ahead of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Speaking at a Halal webinar organised by the chamber at the weekend, president of ACCI, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, said Nigeria should enter the sector more boldly and with required structures and infrastructure.

He said the industry provided a huge opportunity for Nigeria at a time the world’s economy is struggling as a result of the pandemic stating that the industry holds a critical key to accelerated recovery.

According to a statement by the ACCI’s media officer, Latifat Opoola, Kayode described the industry as potent business opportunity that transcends religious considerations and as a prospering business landscape open to all humanity.

According to him, the Chamber felt discussions on the benefits of keying into the industry must be elevated to help boost the economy, adding that the ACCI organised the forum to showcase the booming world of the halal industry and the need for Nigeria to get involved.

On her part, the president of the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, said a properly functioning halal certification body is critical for Nigeria to be able to access markets across the world.

She also noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had, in July 2020, introduced 11 intervention schemes designed to increase access to finance for non-interest financial institutions, including guidelines for the operation of the agribusiness, small and medium enterprise in the investment schemes for non-interest financial institutions, among interest guidelines for non-oil export simulation facilities.

These programmes, according to her, provide the much-needed financing to promote the halal industry.

She also cited some challenges the industry might face in the country including “problems of double taxation, inadequate human resources, problem of Islamophobia, and its religious factors of all the constraints hampering effective utilisation and participation in Islamic banking in Nigeria,” she said.

While speaking on Halal Marketing and Branding, Sheikh Nuruddeen Lemu, who is the director of Research at Dahwah Institute of Nigeria, said branding and marketing the industry requires a lot from government.

He said branding the industry needed to be looked at holistically, especially in infrastructure regulation standards.

“Other things, of course, are important to the success of marketing and branding from currency stability, restoring and protecting investor confidence in the Nigerian market.

“The growth of inputs and how that is facilitated improves inbound tourism, stronger international partnerships, building the talent pool as well as SME capacity building,” he said.