Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, has inaugurated a 14-man Technical Committee on the Development of a Roadmap and Operational Framework for Halal Certification in Nigeria.
Inaugurating the Committee in Abuja, Amb. Katagum noted that there is 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.
She said Nigeria’s Muslim population is estimated at about 52% and adherents of Islam are usually selective in making Halal choices when it comes to lifestyle and product consumption. “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, stating that Nigeria should not be left out.
Yelwaji Katagum added that the ” 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”.
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.
The Committee members were selected from 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.
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.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning permissible food which adheres to the Islamic form of slaughtering animals or poultry, which involves killing through a cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.
Animals must be alive and healthy at the time of slaughter and all blood is drained from the carcass, and during the process, a Muslim will recite a dedication, known as tasmiya or shahada.