35th  Enugu Int’l Trade Fair kicks- off with a call on FG to develop permanent site

The 35th  edition of the Enugu International Trade Fair kicked- off Friday, April 5Th,2024 ,with an appeal on the Federal Government to develop the trade Fair permanent site in order to compete with its Lagos and Kaduna counterparts.

Enugu state Governor, Dr.Peter Mbah and the President of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture,Sir Odeiga Jideonwu made the appeal in their separate speeches at the Opening of the Fair held at the Trade Fair  Permanent site, G R.A. Enugu 

Pix: ECCIMA President , Sir Jideonwu(1st L)Deputy Gov Ossai (m)Commissioner for Information, Aka Eze Aka(2nd R)

Declaring the Fair opened, Governor Mbah, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Ifeanyi Ossai, described the theme of this year’s Fair, “promoting made in Nigeria products for Global competitiveness” as apt. 

Pix – Deputy Gov Ossai

Hee said it is one sure way of growing the Nigerian economy and reducing poverty rate.

While commending ECCIMA for organizing the Fair, Governor Mbah urged them to partner  tertiary institutions being  research centers ,to enable them carry out researches on different sectors and  achieve greater results. 

pix- Deputy Gov Ossai( m)

He assured investors of his administration’s commitment to providing a friendly environment for their businesses.

Pix-Minister of Innovation,science and Technology, Nnaji( 1st L) ECCIMA President ,Jideonwo(m)

In his speech, the minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Uche Nnaji said the theme, “Promoting Made-in-Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness,”  not only  accentuates the essence of job creation and economic resurgence but also celebrates the nation’s  dedication to elevating our industries to global prominence through the unique talents and resources the country possesses.

 In his word,” embracing locally produced goods transcends the quest for economic autonomy; it is a declaration of our national identity and a commitment to parading the exceptional quality of products originating from our homeland. Our focus encompasses an array of sectors, from agriculture and textiles to technology, underscoring the imperative for Nigerian businesses to ascend to global standards and foster innovation.

Pix-ECCIMA President,Jideonwo

“Where markets are increasingly interconnected, the trajectory of Nigerian products hinges on a strategic approach, emphasizing not only the quality and branding but also effective penetration into global markets. Products made in Nigeria, known for their authenticity and rich cultural heritage, are poised to capture a unique segment in both domestic and international markets’ he said.

The minister added that  the initiative dovetails with the objectives of Presidential Executive Order Number 5 and his  Ministry’s mission to champion innovation, science, and technology as key drivers of economic transformation. 

“Under my Ministry, agencies such as the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), and the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) are pivotal in enhancing our local production capabilities.

Pix- ECCIMA Vice President (Works) Engr. Pastor Makuachukwu

“Our recent Technology and Innovation EXPO spotlighted significant progress in these areas, underscoring Nigeria’s advancements and potential for further innovation and collaboration”, he said.

He commended the Enugu Chamber of Commerce for it’s choice of the theme for this year’s Fair and urged exhibitors to display the excellence of Made-in-Nigeria products, explore new partnerships, and contribute to the nation’s economic resurgence.

“Together, let us champion Made-in-Nigeria products for global competitiveness, celebrate our entrepreneurial spirit, and forge a prosperous future for Nigeria”, he appealed.

Pix- Deputy Gov Ossai

Earlier in his welcome address, the President of ECCIMA, Sir Odeiga  Jideonwo  commended Enugu State Governor on his administration’s policies and works ” You spent millions of naira within the last two weeks to asphalt the two kilometer internal road of this complex, just to ensure that participants and visitors at the Fair have very amiable environment”, he said..

He also commended the Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Uche Nnaji for his  support to SMEs especially in the area of Science and Technology. 

The President said since they commenced the hosting of the Fair at the permanent site , fifteen years ago, they had been striving to Improve on the infrastructural facilities in the complex. They  erected and completed a mini exhibition hall, a ceremonial pavilion, asphalted about 40% of the internal road and installed an air-conditioned tent within the resources available to the Chamber to improve the hosting of the Fairs. 

Pix: Deputy Gov laying the block

“This year we are equally building a 1,500sqm fully Air-conditioned Exhibition Hall aimed at providing a more amenable environment to host our esteemed and highly valued”, he said.

Pix- Vice President Works,PasotDDR

Jideonwu disclosed that they designed 5 exhibition halls for different sectors, to be developed using private sector funding.  It was  aimed at  making  the complex the best center for international exhibitions and trade Fairs in Nigeria.

“This we are vigorously pursuing by starting with the development of Manufacturing Sector Exhibition hall. 

He therefore appealed to the Federal Government to set aside adequate fund for direct award of contract to a competent contractor to complete the development of the Enugu International Trade Fair Complex just as was done in Kaduna and Lagos.

Speaking on the theme of the 2024 Fair, “Promoting Made in Nigeria Products for Global Competitiveness”, ECCIMA President said, “the reality of our current economic challenges in the country as result of the dwindling revenue from our mono foreign exchange earner, which is oil, calls for concerted efforts towards diversifying our nation’s economy, hence, the need to promote made in Nigeria products in the Global market to attract foreign interest, increase export of none oil products and then offset our foreign exchange deficit, cannot be over emphasized,” The president saod. 

He called lon the Federal Government and its agencies created to support the development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to closely work together with the Organised Private Sector to fill the gap relating to provision of collaterals and other related issues hindering the accessibility of credit by this sector in other to unleash the development of this critical sector of the economy.

The Chambers also called on Federal Government through the CBN to reconsider reviewing downwards, interest rate, saying that ,”it is of essence that policies of government especially as it affects credit to SMEs should be made to work by using the business associations as buffer for her members that are genuinely in need of credit facilities to expand their business operations.

Pix: Foundation laying stone of exhibition hall at the construction site

He thanked Governor Mbah for sponsoring the installation of the tent where all SMEs are showcasing their products and services, noting that, “By this, the ingenuity and new ideas in the state would be brought to bear for commercialization. 

Jideonwo announced that  ECCIMA had made entry to the Fair complex free to all visitors to drive more traffic into the Fair. 

The President  thanked their  stakeholders for the confidence reposed in them and hope  that participants, exhibitors and visitors would have fulfilling, rewarding and pleasant experiences throughout the period of this Fair.

In an interview, the 2nd Vice President, Works, Engr ( Pastor) Makuachukwu Chidiebere said ECCIMA is constructing a 1,800sq meters indoor  exhibition hall

designed for an  international best standards.

He said they will construct five halls

within ten years. ” The exhibition hall is under construction and it is expected  to be completed in the next one year.  

Pix: At the foundation laying stone of exhibition hall

“We already have a ten -year- plan for the construction. It’s high tech construction. Most exhibition will be done inside the hall as it’s done  in China. Exhibitors will exhibit their goods without stres,” he said.

Engr Makuachukwu said the foundation of the building had been done and the Governor Mbah ,who was represented that the Deputy Governor, Ifeanyi  Ossai performed the ground breaking and

The 10-Day Fair which commenced on April 5 will  end on April 15, 2024.

Author: Maureen Ikpeama

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