By Merit Ibe
To boost trade and economic activities, the Federal Government has enjoined Nigerians to support locally manufactured goods.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who made the remark at the opening ceremony of the 35th edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair at the weekend, organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI ), noted it was in this regard that the government signed Executive Order 003 in 2017. He said several campaigns have been launched to create necessary awareness and momentum.
Represented by the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, the president also disclosed that the country’s investment announcements in the first half of the year at $10.1billion was a 100 percent increase compared to 2020.
Noting that the Ministry, recognised the role that government needs to play to maintain confidence in both cross-border and wider international trade and investment, the minister said investors from Europe, China, Morocco and the UK were making strong commitments and that the administration was working tirelessly to ensure that these commitments turn into projects that positively affect our nation.
He said the fair is a great platform to amplify “our trade discussions and ensure our business community is well positioned for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which will, among other things, enable us create employment for our large and growing population, diversify the economy from a relatively narrow base, build industrial capacity and trade competitiveness as well as improve the management of our foreign exchange reserves to alleviate the economy’s vulnerability to changes in crude oil prices.
The minister also emphasised the need to improve the ease of doing business, increase economic activities and ensure that the economy is diversified whilst still creating jobs for citizens, adding that one of the major policy thrusts “we are deploying to drive the facilitation of trade and market access is the imminent revision of Nigeria’s trade policy. Its revision will capture our current economic realities and our aspirations of further facilitating trade and access to market both locally and regionally.
On his part, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu noted that the theme of the fair is persuasive, petinent and encapsulated in the agenda for better Lagos.
The governor said the fair has impacted greatly on the economy through opportunities it has provided to individuals and corporate organisations.
He promised to continue to work towards enthroning a business-friendly environment with a view to facilitating profitable returns on investment based on a believe in the economic development strategy that is private sector driven.
“The importance of exhibitions and trade cannot be over emphasised in view of the economic impact on the economy especially MSMEs.”
President of the chamber, Toki Mabogunje noted that the theme of the fair which is
“Connecting Businesses, Creating Value” underscores the importance of relationships and networking among businesses for the purpose of wealth creation.
“The theme also underlines the value of interactions between producers and service providers and end-users. This is the cardinal objective of the Trade Fair.”
She said the chamber recognizes the imperative of non-oil sector development and the need to add value to our primary products in order to improve earnings for the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“This trade fair provides a platform to identify non-oil alternatives and highlights the significance of value addition. The trade fair equally serves as an avenue to boost economic and commercial activities.”