Stimulating local economies has been said to be the panacea to urban congestion and not relocating major ministries and infrastructure.
This was the position of the President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA) Mr. Emeka Unachukwu while fielding questions from newsmen at the opening ceremony of the first Trade and, Investment Fair for Small and Medium size businesses over the weekend at Egi, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (ONELGA), Rivers State.
Unachukwu said,” in line with government’s vision of developing rural areas, PHCCIMA tries to identify communities with potential of growing into big cities and establish an enabling framework for growth.”
Giving the keynote address at the occasion, the Managing director, Total Upstream, Guy Maurice represented by the Deputy Managing director Total Exploration and Production Nigeria (TEPNG), Nicholas Brunet said SMEs were the driving force for Egi’s local economy as many indigenous and non indigenous citizens were gainfully engaged.
“The Egi City SME Trade and Investment Fair is the first of its kind in the whole of ONELGA. The primary purpose of the fair is not only to provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase and sell their goods and services, but also to provide a platform where entrepreneurs, investors and customers can exchange business ideas, establish business partnerships and relationship as well as establish new supply chains and link up to new market opportunities” he noted.
The MD also said the SME –Development Network Centre (SME-DN) which is the brain child of Total, would provide periodic orientation workshops during the fair for would be entrepreneurs and provide guidance on how to plan, establish, manage and grow business.
Urging the Egi People to actively participate in the business development process, the President-General, Egi People’s Assembly (EPA), Chief Oris Onyiri said the fair would open up opportunities for entrepreneurs, Egi people, residents and indigenous of OML-58 Communities and their neighbours to create a strong locl economy that taps into the strength of the regional economy which in turn leverages on available development infrastructure and resources in the society.
Key supporters of the fair were TEPNG, the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and PHCCIMA.