The Kaduna Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) have assured Nigerians that this year's planned 34th Kaduna International Trade Fair (KITF) will help to promote peace in the Northern region and also attract billions of naira into the country's economy.
This assurance was given by the KADCCIMA'S Deputy President and Chairman KITF, Main Organising Committee, Awwalu Makarfi, at a press briefing in Lagos where he disclosed the theme of this year's fair which is scheduled to hold from February 22 to March 3, is 'Combating Security Challenges and the Way Forward for Nigerian Economic Transformation.'
"We had to work hard to come up with this year's theme which is relevant to the situation on ground and that to me is the high point because it addresses a very crucial and vital issue that without peace which has finally returned to Kaduna there would be no opportunity for economic activities there," he said.
He added that the Chamber was also hoping that in terms of patronage, participation, ease and peace of mind this trade fair would exceed that of last year.
"Because of our large population and vast resources, Nigeria cannot be ignored by any serious business, today we have a lot of participants within and outside Nigeria who have registered their interests in the forth-coming fair compared to last year's and with their participation billions of Naira will accrue to our economy," he said.
He said also that a lot of control and regulation is being exercised by relevant government agencies in concert with other foreign government agencies to prevent substandard products from being imported and displayed at the fair.
"The real gains of an international trade fair are the exchange of ideas and technology at a very high level which drives the economy especially in the domain of international trade and foreign exchange. A lot of international exposure has also been gained by local businesses leading to large volumes of importation and exportation opportunities through the Lagos, Enugu and Kaduna international trade fairs," he pointed out.
According to him, a mere observer may not notice the presence of foreign contacts and new business opportunities worth billions of naira in an international trade fair, but that is the main reason for the fair.
"In view of the security situation last year, it was really a very difficult decision for us to go ahead and hold the trade fair because we did not want to create the impression that we are giving in and we are happy that we did because we have not broken the tempo and we have continued to build economic confidence especially for businesses in the region," he said.
He stressed that care would also be taken by the chambers to ensure and verify that only genuine players in the business sector are allowed to participate in the fair to prevent innocent people from falling prey to either local or international fraudsters posing as business people.
"In addition to normal hustle and bustle of the Fair, we intend to host a number of other significant events Firstly, in the afternoon of February 23, there will be a quiz competition for Senior Secondary School students from the 19 Northern States.
"While on Monday, February 25, there will be a seminar on the theme of the Fair to be chaired by Former Head of State, General Abdusalam Abubakar, while the Guest Speaker will be Former Lecturer, Department of Economics Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and now Vice Chancellor, Catholic University of Nigeria, Abuja. Prof. Mike Kwanashie" he said.