FG: Trade Exhibitions Vital for Economic Growth

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Peter Uzoho in Kaduna

The federal government has stated that the annual Kaduna International Trade Fair is a vital platform for the consolidation of the competitive positions and enhancement of the market share of the firms operating in the Nigerian economy.

It said the fair was also an excellent platform for sensitising prospective local and foreign investors to Nigeria’s immense investment potentials, noting that the consistency of the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) in organising the trade fair annually, clearly demonstrates the Chamber’s commitment to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 38th edition of Kaduna International Trade Fair monday in Kaduna, Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, described the theme of the 38th editions as very appropriate and well timed, saying the present administration was quite aware of the imperative of
economic diversification as the only way to move the economy forward.

Represented at the occasion by the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Segun Awolowo, Abubakar said: “It is in recognition of this reality that I see as very appropriate and well-timed the choice of the theme of the 2017 edition of the Kaduna International Trade Fair, namely “Promoting Public Private Partnership
as Panacea for Accelerated Growth and Development.

“This administration is committed to a true partnership with the private sector in our desire to ensure rapid transformation of the Nigerian economy for the benefit of our people. Promotion of public private partnership (PPP) is a major plank of the programme of this administration. In fact, Government has directed Public Agencies to
increase their patronage of made in Nigeria products through public procurement system”.

She added: “The theme of the event is apt and relevant to our Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) with stated objectives of fast-tracking inclusive growth, job creation, enterprise development and industrialisation. The success of these policies is already evident in increased value addition in the agricultural and manufactural sectors.

“As we are all aware, capital investment is a vehicle for industrial growth in any developing country like Nigeria. However, the bulk of industrial inputs in Nigeria are imported, which should not be the case. To promote the inflow of foreign capital, we should undertake measures for using and promoting our own inputs to produce our goods.
Announcing some major steps taken by the Federal Government towards driving the economy to the part of success, the minister said: “The Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo has inaugurated the National MSMEs Clinic and Booklet with the aim of finding solutions to problems militating against the speedy growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. This is part of Government strategic commitments aimed at improving the business environment across the country. The clinics would serve as one stop shop for dealing with various business concerns and approval issues. Therefore,
Kaduna State Government is expected to play a key role in assisting with facilitating the business of MSMEs”.
Abubakar also said: ‘It is pertinent at this juncture to inform this gathering that Government in a bid to develop and promote the activities of MSMEs, has expanded the number of the participating agencies in the Nigeria Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) to include Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON, and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This is a pragmatic effort to tackle constraints experienced by MSMEs. The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) has also put in place a steering committee to develop a road map and policy for the implementation of the MSMEs policy framework”.

“In addition to the One-stop Investment Centre (OSIC) domiciled at Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), it is worthy to note that His Excellency, the President has approved the establishment of a Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to address issues associated with ease of doing business in Nigeria. The Council intends to review and remove all encumbrances to Trade Facilitation, enforce simplification as well as streamlining the export and import documentation and procedures leveraging on technology with a view to removing administrative bottlenecks.

“With these in place, we hope to achieve a reduction in the cost of doing business in Nigeria. Other areas of reforms will included improved efficiency in business registration, entry process including visa reforms, land reform registrations, and contract agreements, etc”, she added.

Earlier in her welcome address, President, Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Dr. Muhheba Farida Dankaka, explained that this year’s edition of the fair like previous versions has witnessed an upsurge in the number of participants, stakeholders and patrons. Dankaka said drawing from serious investors and manufacturers alike from all parts of the world, the chamber has been encouraged by the impact of previous fairs which she said indicated that their effort to link manufactures and business leaders in tune with the requirement of the economy at large was surely bearing fruit.

Also justifying the choice of the theme of the fair, Dankaka said: “This theme was deliberately chosen to reckon with the current realities on ground. It intends to appreciate and complement government efforts towards restructuring of Nigerian economy that has been facing a number of challenges due to dwindling resources. It is our belief that promoting public private partnership will go a long way in stalling a further slide into recession and lead to sustainable growth and development in the business sector and country at large.”