By G9ija

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 News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the expo,  which will run till Sept. 16, witnessed exhibition of halal products and services such as banking,  insurance and other financial services,  fashion,  pharmaceutical products,  amongst others