By Tony Obiechina Abuja
Government and private sectors leaders including Dangote group on Monday described Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) as a strong facilitation platform for Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfFCTA).
Government leaders from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) led by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, heads of critical economic and Federal Agencies noted that the 16th AITF has confirmed that Nigeria is ready for AfCFTA.
The President of the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ide John Udeagbala explained that over time Abuja International Trade Fair has enabled Nigeria businesses to upgrade their capacity for packaging, innovation and standardisation of their products for export.
He enjoined every Nigeria entrepreneur to take advantage of the opportunities provided by AfFCTA to improve their business and get connected to other African markets and beyond.
Buttressing his position, the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar cited example of high quality products on display at the Trade Fair noting that Nigeria Micro Medium and Small-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) are indeed ready to take over African markets.
Dr. Abubakar said the importance of AfCFTA is underscored by the full support of government towards preparing the nation to explore the opportunities the AfCFTA platform has provided.
“As Nigeria is grooming her business for continental trade, other African nations are also in the same race. This is where the organised private sector becomes a critically relevant partner of government to deliver on the benefits of AfCFTA”, he said.
The Minister of Trade and investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo at the event said the collaboration between his Ministry and the organised private sector is responsible for the high standard of products and service being offered by Nigeria MSMEs at this Trade Fair in preparation for AfCFTA.
According to him, the chamber movement in Nigeria is an indispensable partner of the government in the push to grow Nigerian economy for export market, urging patronage of local products and services to deepen Nigerian Gross Domestic Product.
The Director General, Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), Aninou Akadiri cited that Abuja Trade Fair is an example that is being copied by other West Africa countries, emphasising that FEWACCI is proud to be a partner of ACCI which is the organising body for the trader fair
In her closing remarks, the Director General ACCI, Victoria Akai lauded every government representatives, stakeholders and participants who graced the occasion adding that in the last five years, ACCI had embarked on a continuous improvement of the services and quality of the Trade Fair.
Some of the steps she listed include better exhibition infrastructure and ongoing push to upgrade the delivery of ACCI events to world class standards and to align with current realities of business.
“This Trade Fair has successive influence on the local economy by initial injection of exhibition through spending from companies involved directly in the exhibition and from exhibitors and visitors. Secondly, there is the multiplier effect which accounts for a revolving consequence in all sectors.”
Meanwhile, prices at the Trade Fair remain very low despite the high quality of goods that are on display, according to a statement by ACCI Head of Media & Strategy, Olayemi Jon-Mensah.
A survey of exhibition stands at the fair show that the prices of good and products are lower than what are obtainable at major Abuja markets such as Wuse, Utako, Kaura and Garki markets.
It was revealed that the exhibition which opened Thursday has continued to attract huge patronage as many Nigerians in the Federal Capital Territory seek to take advantage of the low prices.