Stakeholders of the Nigeria Halal industry have for the first time organised a virtual roundtable where they discussed issues that are key to the sustainability of the industry, Muslim News can report.
The roundtable, held on Saturday, September 19, was hosted by the Halal Compliance and Food Safety (HaCFoS) Limited.
Muslim News findings revealed that the session had in attendance representatives of corporate organisations like the Halal Certification Authority (HCA), Jaiz International Halal Certification, and Halal Standard Development Trust (HASDAT).
The meeting, we reliably gathered, was necessitated by the growing recognition of the Nigeria Halal industry in the globe, coupled with the significant opportunities that exist for Halal trade in Africa.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Salisu Monsuru Adekunle, who represented HaCFoS, reiterated the need for the stakeholders’ roundtable discussion.
He stated that the main purpose of the roundtable is to ensure better representation at the international level, adding that coordination of the Halal stakeholders’ activities in the country, leadership, and governance of the halal industry are also key issues.
He equally emphasized the need for a clear road map and implementation of the industry in phases in Nigeria for the trade and economic benefit of everyone and the country.
During the deliberation, the stakeholders identified some of the challenges facing the industry.
Professor Ibrahim Oreagba, the Chairman of the HCA, called the attention of the stakeholders to lack of halal laboratory and proliferation of Islamic scholars who arbitrarily issue the halal logos to manufacturers without due process.
He said, the stakeholders must work together to address these challenges which he said go against “Global halal industry best practices.”
Dr. Abdullah Shuaib, a director at Jaiz International halal Certification expressed concern over the lack of unified halal standard and logo, inadequate professionals, and the need for proper training.
Dr. Shuaib emphasized the need for cooperation, solidarity, and collaboration among the stakeholders, while encouraging them to always lend helping hands to one another.
“This would not only have a significant impact on the industry but it will ensure sustainable growth and benefit everyone,” he noted.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luqman Zakariyyah, Chairman of HaCFoS proposed an establishment of a central national body to ensure best practices and oversees activities of the Nigerian halal industry.
According to him, Halal professionals should be well trained in stages and placed on different levels based on their capacities and experiences. This is to ensure quality and sustainable halal industry in the country.”
Mr. Sulaiman Olokodana who is the Secretary to the HASDAT called for adequate awareness on the benefits of the halal industry, adding that, HaCFoS is in the best position to handle the training through collaboration with all the stakeholders.
He presented the activities of the organisation which majorly focused on halal certification in his presentation, disclosing that some products from both national and multinational companies had been certified.
Mr. Sulaiman Olokodana, in his presentation also disclosed that HASDAT had equally certified a number of products, especially from the agricultural products companies.
Another speaker, Mr. Kamil Shuaib informed the stakeholders that Jaiz has been working to promote Halal Industry in Nigeria, especially on manpower development.
In the communiqué issued at the end of the 3-hour webinar, the stakeholders unanimously agreed on certain steps such as Consultation with the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and all other relevant bodies will be carried out to achieve this great body.
This national body will comprise of the representatives from the existing registered stakeholders. A committee led by HASDAT and a representative from each organization in attendance was set up for the wide consultation and to draft a working paper for the establishment of the central body and all its affiliates.
The stakeholders in attendance expressed their satisfaction over the roundtable with the hope that it will improve collaborative effort and the steps taken will accelerate and ensure the sustainability of the Halal industry in the country.