Lagos — Yuan Dickson, an official of Bedmate International Enterprise Company Limited, whose company has been participating in the Lagos Trade Fair and Exhibition for over five years was happy that this year's event was different in terms of patronage by Nigerians.
He said apart from patronage, his company was able to make contacts during the nine-day event that closes today.
Mike Kiki, an official of Ghana Free Zones Board said this in the first time his company participated at the Lagos Fair and that he had no regrets coming to Nigeria for the event.
He told our correspondent that although his mission here was not premised on profitability, the number of visits to the board's stand was encouraging and a manifestation that there is a lot for Nigeria and his country to gain from the board. According to him, Nigerians are accommodating and hospitable.
Fisayo Bello, trader of fabrics company, whose company made a good show at the fair said this year's event was quite different from the previous ones. "The turnout was good. People visited our stand and the patronage was not that bad," she expressed.
There is no doubt that this year's Lagos Trade Fair and Exhibition themed "Promoting Trade for Sustainable Economic Transformation" left positive impression on the minds of participants.
Location boosts fair
The choice of Tafawa Balewa Square for this year's fair boosted patronage, according to exhibitors who spoke with our correspondent. They said the location is in the heart of Lagos and close to hotels and bus terminals where people can easily do shopping and go.
Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) had earlier said it shifted the fair from the Trade Fair Complex Lagos-Badagry Express way because of the ongoing construction works there. Foreign, local exhibition made good showing.
Over 50 foreign and local exhibitors participated in the fair. These foreign countries include: Taiwan, Japan, Egypt, China, Ghana and other neighbouring African countries.
Local companies like Dangote, NEM insurance, First Bank also participated. In addition, the companies provided casual jobs to unemployed youths who helped them market their products. Some of the items sold at the fair included: electronics, textiles, food items, services and etc.
Lagos Chamber explains mission
LCCI, organizer of the fair explained that it chose the theme of the fair to underscore the significance of trade in the realization of the nation's collective aspirations of rapid economic transformation.
President of the chamber, Mr Goodie Ibru said it is through trade that domestic companies can take advantage of bigger markets at regional, continental and global levels.
He said, "This trade fair offers an excellent platform for the promotion of domestic and international trade. However, for us to benefit from trade, local companies must be competitive. Therefore, the creation of an enabling environment to enhance competition is crucial."
NACCIMA endorses fair
President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr Herb Ademola Ajayi said putting up trade fair expositions and promotions is the only way Nigerian organised private sector can reposition itself to face the emerging challenges of global competition.
He said government must continue to facilitate as partner in progress by ensuring the prevalence of a conducive and enabling environment, including functional and efficient infrastructural and security facilities in the country.
Jonathan says fair timely
President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented at the occasion by Minister for Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said the importance of trade fairs and exhibitions in the expansion of trade and promotion of economic diversification cannot be over-emphasized as it creates opportunities for buyers and sellers to meet and forge partnerships that can last for a long time.
According to him, the theme of the fair is appropriate and very timely in view of the fact that Nigeria like many other developing countries is prepared to streamline trade in its development strategies.
He said the consensus amongst policy makers and the private sector is that in the current economic climate where most economies are battling to reduce budget deficits, reduce unemployment and tackle their sovereign debt crises, the most potent tool for sustainable and inclusive economic growth is trade and investment.
"It is therefore not surprising to see that the global trend is for presidents, Prime Ministers and Trade and Investment Ministers to embark on trade missions to strategic countries with members of the private sector to look for the opportunity to attract investments and develop sustainable trading relationships," Aganga stated.
He commended the leadership of the LCCI for its effort in organizing and sustaining the fair over the years and expressed hope that they would take full advantage of this fair to contribute meaningfully to the expansion of trade for the sustainable economic growth of the nation
Low points of the fair
Although participants commended the Lagos chamber of commerce over the organization of this year's fair, this didn't mean it was perfect. One of its inadequacies was infrastructure to provide requisite comfort for exhibitors.
A senior official of a Taiwanese company, Chuk Protech Company Limited told our correspondent that power supply was not adequate. "You can see how I'm sweating. Power supply to the exhibitors here is not adequate. I think the organizers should work on this in future editions of the fair," he said.
He also said security was not tight enough to protect exhibitors and their wares. He said, "Yesterday [Wednesday], someone boldly walked up to my colleague, took his phone and disappeared."
Our correspondent also noticed that the days individual companies, corporate bodies and state governments were to address participants were not followed as scheduled in the trade fair brochure. This posed serious challenges to journalists who covered the event.
We tried our best - Organiser
Director-General of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuff said the fair was successful given the resources challenge the chamber faced. He told our correspondent that the chamber spent huge sums of money to put up over 60 mobile toilets, rent generators and provide security.
According to him, government should in subsequent editions of the fair provide facilities for organizers, saying this will go a long way in tackling some of the challenges that bedevilled the fair.
Minister Aganga, in his remarks at the opening ceremony of the fair, tasked LCCI to develop key performance indicators at the fair, know the number and value of transactions as well as the number and diversity of the participants.
He tasked them to collate the diversities of the products brought to the fair.