David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Building materials market, situated along Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, Ogidi near Onitsha recently embarked on a project to sanitize the market of touting also known as market hustlers.
The project was aimed at giving the market a befitting image after weathering the storm for several years after its establishment.
The market which was constructed through communal efforts by traders who formally plied their trade along Ozomagala, Ezenwekwe St. John Streets and other adjoining streets all in Onitsha are now comfortably doing their daily businesses at their present site.
The ultra-modern market equipped with modern facilities has fire-fighting equipment with professional firemen attached to a section of the market. It can also boast of modern shops springing up in the site to accommodate the increasing number of apprentices waiting to be “settled” by their masters after a certain number of years agreed under the master’s tutelage.
However, the activities of touts in some markets across Anambra are seen as a wrong signal.
Consequently, the leadership of Building Materials International Market, Ogidi, with Chief Jude Nwankwo as president, has embarked on a mission to protect the image of the market.
Chief Nwankwo said that the mission had yielded positive results as all identified market touts roaming the area had been sent packing, creating way for a new lease of life for both the genuine traders and the public.
He also noted that materials bought from the market are all considered to be from the right source in order to prevent substandard products from entering the market through market hustlers.
He disclosed that fake revenue touts who flocked around the market premises had been thrown out of the area to enable genuine investors seek ways of partnering with the traders for development.
We’re not carried along on ECOWAS single currency, traders lament
Traders in large markets in Lagos State are lamenting over not being carried along in the proposed single currency for countries within the ECOWAS countries.
According to them , it is not fair that the Federal Government should neglect them in policies which directly affect them.
They said that it was wrong for civil servants to stay in their offices and be taking policy decisions that would be impacting on trade while the traders who wear the shoes are not being carried along.
Chief Chris Uzoma , Chief of Staff to the President of the African Tyre Market ,Lagos International Trade Fair Complex , said that what the government is doing is tantamount to shaving the traders’ hairs in their absence.
He said that the purpose of the single currency for the ECOWAS states was basically for trade.
He then wondered why the government should leave the trading community in the dark.
According to him, this is one of the reasons most of government policies don’t fly.
“This is another clear case that we have been complaining that government does not carry us along on matters that concern us, even the ones that we are expected to drive. How can you conceptualize single currency for the ECOWAS countries without getting the traders who do businesses in these countries involved? If it is a policy that is expected to work, government ought to have engaged the traders.
“By this ,I mean invite us to the round table for discussion on the merits and demerits of such policy because we are the people in the field. For example, African Tyre Village is the biggest tyre market in the whole of Africa .It is the hub of tyre business in Africa .People from other countries flood the market on a daily to buy tyres. Therefore ,we are in a better position to inform the government more than the civil servants. But the problem is that government is still carrying on with the mindset that traders are illiterate and as such incapable of contributing to policies or generating ideas that would generate policy decisions,” he said.
In his contribution, Nelson Iyobosa, a trader in International Center for Commerce, said that though the single currency may help to facilitate smooth trading among the countries in ECOWAS, government ought to have embarked on wide range of consultations with critical stakeholders before taking final decision.
According to him ,even the proposed name of the currency ought to have been naira instead of Eco, arguing that Nigeria is like the pivot on which the other countries in West Africa revolves.
He is also of the view that traders are the ones that are supposed to be in the forefront of the proposal and not civil servants.
“Whatever we want to do ,laying the right foundation is always very important .If you have a good idea, but lay a wrong foundation ,then the good idea would become a bad one . Having a single currency among ECOWAS countries is a good idea because it would help to ease off the discrepancies in exchange rate ,the fraud of some owners of bureau the change and so on. But since the policy is majorly centred around trade ,traders are supposed to be involved in the decision making .It is not supposed to be imposed on us .We are not supposed to be learning about it in the media .That is what I am talking about foundation .Therefore ,though the policy is a good one ,but the foundation is faulty and nothing can hardly stand on a faulty foundation ,so let us keep our fingers cross and keep on watching them, it may still go the way of RUGA”.
Flood sacks traders in Nnewi
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Traders at Agboedo Market, Nkwo Nnewi, Anambra State said at the weekend that they had overstretched their patience over infrastructural decay and government neglect of traders at the market, especially on road network.
Chairman of Zone 19 under Agboedo Market Association, Chief Vitus Igbo laid this complaint at the market moments after a lorry laden with goods meant to be delivered within the market, according to him, almost tumbled as traders were in full business session.
Chief Igbo said that there had been repeated occasions of such incidents in the market outside motorcycle riders who he said frequently fall into potholes and still water created by floods.
He said that bad road network had continued to slow down trading activities within the zone “where you have major dealers in home essentials like rug carpets and all that.
“We have applied all the palliative measures, as much as we can, including filling up the road with sand, to no avail. It is something experts in road construction should handle. And we can’t as traders shoulder the responsibility alone to bring a lasting solution to it. This road has been neglected for some years now to our own detriment.”
The market leader regretted that after series of complaints to the Nnewi North Council authority, all the traders had been receiving were promises without fulfillment.
He said that Governor Willie Obiano’s administration at the first tenure promised traders to fix the road, a promise he is yet to fulfill.
According to him, over 5,000 traders were affected by the dilapidated road infrastructure “with the attendant low business turnover even as we contribute our own quota to Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state.”
He said that the traders were told sometime ago that the road contract had been awarded to a contractor with nothing being done.
He, therefore, called on Governor Obiano, the member representing Nnewi North Constituency at State House of Assembly, Hon Nonso Okafor and Nnewi Local Government Council to come to the rescue of the traders.
Chief Igbo said that the traders had been helpless, more so now that the rainy season had set in.
He made it clear that if nothing was done urgently, some of the traders would shut down for lack of access road to their shops.
Alaba our biggest market outside Europe –Bergi, Wharfedale UK manager
The Product Manager of the world`s most popular loudspeaker producing company, Wharfedale Pro, United Kingdom, Anders Bergi has described Alaba International as a world class electronics market.
Speaking while on tour of Wharfedale showrooms in Africa and the Middle East , he said that Alaba is the company`s biggest market outside the United Kingdom.
According to him, this is his first visit to Africa, adding that the noise, energy and vibrancy of Alaba International Market cannot be compared with that of any other place in the world.
He said that his mission was to personally introduce Wharfedale new line array system, the WLA-210x and the focus 12M speakers to the Nigerian market.
He disclosed that Wharfedale has a long history of creating great sounds having been founded in 1936.
He said that the company has been producing quality products at lesser prices than most of the other brands in the market.
He also said that it is the company`s rich history, sound engineering and innovation that has made it a pacesetter in the loudspeaker equipment business.
On the advantages of the WLA-210x and focus 12M speakers , he said: ”The WLA210X and the Focus 12M are products of the latest innovation in speaker production . It is a product of a very long interaction with a lot of people on what we would do to make our speakers better for them. Therefore, WLA210x and Focus 12M are the choice of the people .We just went into our factory to give the people what they want. The large 10 inches woofers which are 10 inches and a large tweeter which gives us the possibility to have a proper line array at a small cost is exceptional.”
On the possibility of Wharfedale setting up an assembly plant in Nigeria ,he said: “For the time being we are relying on our China factories. We have factories there due to the low workforce, but one never knows, maybe in the future, we might build one here, but for now, we are using our China factory. However , this is my first time in Nigeria and it has been overwhelming It is a more positive experience than I had hoped for.
“Alaba International market is big and noisy, but the energy and vibrancy is really exciting, I am seeing my visit to Nigeria as being more positive than I had imagined and I will give a very positive recommendation when I get back to UK. The acceptance and patronage of Wharfedale products in Nigeria is awesome and having an assembly plant may not be a bad idea. The population of the country is huge and patronage is high . But like I said earlier ,for now we are relying on our factory in China,” he said.