The 27th Enugu International Trade Fair opened on Friday with exhibitors from within and outside Nigeria participating.
The Enugu fair, organised by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA, is one of Nigeria’s annual international trade fairs.
The others take place in Kaduna, North West and Lagos, South West.
Declaring the fair open, the Chairman Senate Committee on Industry, Sam Egwu, said Nigeria’s Senate had taken the lead in the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods.
Senator Egwu said he sponsored a bill to amend the Public Procurement Act to mandate government and its agencies to buy goods made in Nigeria.
“The law will make it compulsory for government and its agencies to consider as first option local products in any procurement,” Egwu said, explaining that the bill had passed first and second readings.
Senator Egwu claimed indifference on the part of governors of the five states in South East Nigeria to the fair, wondering why they were absent from the opening ceremony.
Egwu, a former governor of Ebonyi State, said he never missed attending the Enugu International Trade Fair throughout the period he was governor and called on the governors to show more commitment to the fair.
Speaking within the context of the theme of the fair, “Diversifying the Nation’s Economy: from Rhetorics to Coordinated Action,” the president of ECCIMA, Mr. Ugochukwu Chime, said this year’s fair takes cognizance of the slide in the global oil price and the need for alternative sources of revenue.
He said there was also a need for collaboration between governments and the private sector to tackle the challenges facing the Nigerian economy.
He said: “The reality of our economic challenges which has been worsened by the volatility in the price of our mono revenue foreign exchange earner, oil, as it were, has made the issue of the diversification of the nation’ economy not only imperative but clinically urgent.
It is the right time both the public and private sectors seriously and meaningfully engage each other in removing the bureaucratic bottlenecks and over regulations by government agencies to support the growth of small and medium enterprises.”
Chime appealed to government and its agencies to support the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and commended the Ethiopian Airlines for its direct flights in out of Enugu.
The ECCIMA president also spoke on the new electricity tariff, which he described as unfavourable for business and the tax regime.
The Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industries, Mr Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo, said policies of the state government has created a favourable environment for business to thrive in the state.
He called on investors to take advantage of opportunities offered them to invest in Enugu.