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Buhari Declares Lagos International Trade Fair Open, Assures MSMEs Of More Support

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday November 4, 2022 opened the 36th edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair, pledging to sustain the Federal Government’s support and creating more friendly business environment to boost micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

The 2022 trade fair is organised by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) with the theme “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value”.

The president, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said the Federal Government will continue to support the MSMEs as they are very crucial for national economic growth and job creation.

According to Buhari, “We all know the important role that trade plays in stimulating our economy and driving sustainable development. Through increased trade, our goals of job creation, GDP growth, increased foreign exchange earnings and reduced insecurity are actualised. The development of export trade takes this a step further and helps our nation reach its economic diversification goals.

“To do better the public and private sectors must work together. The private sector can help boost the demand for Nigerian products by aggressively pursuing value addition and increasing the quality of exported goods originating from our country. This trade fair is a great opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s capacity to produce to international standards and also to export.

“The public sector will continue to drive investment into infrastructure development, encourage access to low-cost financing and provide fiscal incentives to companies wishing to manufacture products for sale. These incentives include: three to five-year tax holidays for enterprises in what we deem pioneer industries; tax-free operations and capital allowances for agriculture, manufacturing and engineering within our free trade zones.

In his goodwill message, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, commended the efforts of the leadership of LCCI in bringing together its members, who remain the fulcrum of business in Nigeria.

“I must commend the efforts of the Chamber in helping businesses develop from their conceptual stage into successful organizations because the costs of sustaining enterprises are tough and require great tenacity.

“I am also particularly excited with the theme of this fair, that is, “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value”. I cannot agree less with the intent and purpose of this theme. Given the prevailing economic certainties, networking and value addition are important tactics that can be used by businesses, both small and large, to connect with others, acquire and retain customers, increase brand awareness and differentiate their places in the market, if they intend to stay competitive in the long run,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the President of LCCI, Asiwaju Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, commended the resilience of business operators in the country despite the economic challenges they have been facing. He also appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government in ameliorating the harsh operating environment the Organized Private Sector (OPS) is exposed to.

“I am pleased to remind you that the 2022 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair is being organized on the premise of our generic theme for our annual fair, which is ‘Connecting Businesses, Creating Value’. This theme 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.

Speaking further, LCCI president said the economic conditions have been challenging even as the economy sustains recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and now navigating through the shocks from the Russia-Ukraine war, and recently climate change shocks in the form of devastating floods across the country.

In his words: “While the Nigerian economy has recorded some impressive growth figures this year showing a sustained recovery of the economy, there are heightening fears of recession, food insecurity and more climate change impacts.

As investors, we need to continue to demonstrate our resilience and determination to forge ahead despite these challenges.  As a chamber, we have strong confidence in the Nigerian economy, and we believe we would meet our growth target for this year. The LCCI’s trade fairs, specialized exhibitions, and several business events are some of the many ways we support trade and commerce in the economy.”

The fair which provides opportunities for various trade groups and professionals to present new products and new ideas kicked off on Friday, November 4 will close on Sunday, November 13, 2022.

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