The Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Adebayo, has described the Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) as a strong facilitation platform for Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfFCTA).
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the fair yesterday in Abuja, he said the 16th edition of the fair confirmed Nigeria’s readiness for the AfCFTA.
Adebayo said the collaboration between his ministry and the organised private sector was responsible for the high standard of products and services offered by Nigerian MSMEs at this trade fair, in preparation for the AfCFTA.
According to him, the chamber movement in Nigeria remained an indispensable partner of the government in the bid to grow Nigeria’s economy for the export market, urging patronage of local products and services to deepen the nation’s gross domestic product.
In his remarks, the president of the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), John Udeagbala, explained that, over time, Abuja International Trade Fair has enabled Nigerian businesses to upgrade their capacity for packaging, innovation and standardisation of their products for export.
He enjoined Nigerian entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities provided by AfFCTA to improve their businesses and get connected to other African markets and beyond.
Buttressing this, the president of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, cited examples of high-quality products on display at the fair, noting that Nigerian micro, medium and small-scale enterprises (MSMEs) are, indeed, ready to take over African markets.
Abubakar said the importance of AfCFTA is underscored by government’s support towards preparing the nation to explore the opportunities the AfCFTA platform provides.
“As Nigeria is grooming her business for continental trade, other African nations are also doing the same thing. This is where the organised private sector becomes a critically relevant partner of government, to deliver on the benefits of AfCFTA,” he said.
The director-general, Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), Aninou Akadiri, cited the trade fair as one being copied by other West African countries, emphasising that FEWACCI remained proud to be a partner of the ACCI, the organising body of the trader fair.
In her closing remarks, the director-general, ACCI, Victoria Akai, lauded government representatives, stakeholders and participants who graced the occasion and added that, in the last five years, ACCI had continuously improvement the services and quality of the trade fair by providing better exhibition infrastructure and on-going push to upgrade the delivery of ACCI events to world-class standards and to align with current realities of business.
“This trade fair has successively influenced the local economy through the injection of 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,” she said.
A statement by the ACCI media/strategy officer, Olayemi John-Mensah, said prices at the trade fair have remained low, despite the high quality of goods on display.
A survey of exhibition stands at the fair showed that the prices of goods have refused to rise, compared to what obtained at major Abuja markets such as Wuse, Utako, Kaura and Garki markets
The exhibition which opened Thursday has continued to attract huge patronage as many Nigerians in the Federal Capital Territory took advantage of the low prices.