The recurring success story of the Port Harcourt International Trade Fair has been described as a strong pointer that Rivers state is safe for business and investment.
This was the staked consensus of stakeholders, economic bigwigs, government agencies, security operatives and other high net worth personalities present at the opening ceremony of the 2017 – 13th Port Harcourt International Trade fair held at Isaac Boro Park in Port Harcourt.
In her remark, President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, represented by the 2nd Deputy National President, Chief John Udeagbala, said the state provides opportunities in the creation of industrial clusters, a tourism sector and huge potential to become a leading shipping hub in West Africa.
“Permit me to extend my profound commendation to the executive and management of PHCCIMA who have continued to work tirelessly on behalf of businesses in the city and region to foster economic development for the past 60 years. The NACCIMA family congratulates you for attaining the remarkable 60th Anniversary. Similarly, I commend the organizing committee of the fair for ensuring that the fair holds with even higher standards of quality and opportunities than we have come to expect” he said.
The choice of the theme for this year’s fair, Nigeria Industrial Sector Beyond Oil according to him “is apt as it captures the current state of the Nigeria economy as characterized by a dependence on revenues from crude oil; a focus on the industrial sector as the panacea for attaining sustainable economic growth and development, and open to discussion on the ways and means to ensure the development of the industrial sector beyond oil.”
In his remark, the President of Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Dr Emi Membere-Otaji, said Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce would continue to facilitate and ensure that business thrives in Rivers State, Niger Delta and the country at large.
“As a chamber we have continued to do our bit to stimulate our state and regional economy and the persistent organization of the Port Harcourt International Trade Fair is part of our committed effort and strides.
“The Theme: was carefully chosen to begin to re-direct our consciousness to the new realities with a view to positioning ourselves for the challenges ahead. In Rivers State, we are lucky because we have potentials in other areas including shipping, ports and huge prospect to achieve the zero oil and diversification mantra of the Federal Government”, he said.
Former Governor of old Rivers State, and Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, King Alfred Diette Spiff said the youths should be engaged and given responsibility to serve. However, he noted that when opportunities are given, youths must be focused and serve well.
According to him, they must be prepared to take up responsibilities so that the older ones will leave the scene knowing that they are prepared to take up challenges.
King Spiff who was one time President of PHCCIMA noted, “if I was not given opportunity to rule as a young man, I wouldn’t have been able to showcase my abilities. Youths must show they are prepared to take up positions of trust by being focused, innovative and enterprising,”he said.
He also urged all and sundry to invest in the rave of the moment – mushroom farming as it provides potentials for growth and economic sustainability for individuals and families.
Representative of the Executive Governor of Rivers State, and Chairman, Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Commerce, Hon. Enemi Alabo George, in his remark, said government cannot function effectively without the participation of the organized private sector. This, according to him, is why they have continued to partner with the chamber to achieve the state’s economic objective.
“As a government, it is fundamental we work closely, that is why we are open to mutually beneficial collaborations” he said, adding that part of government objective is to create a platform to make the organized private sector and business generally thrive, and to provide the enabling environment.
“We must commend our governor, Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who have graciously invested on security to ensure Rivers State is safe for investors, including infrastructural development across the state. We congratulate PHCCIMA for maintaining consistency in organising the trade fair and to express the readiness of the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Commerce and Industry to continue to partner with them in this regard. We also congratulate PHCCIMA on 60 years of ensuring that they help stimulate businesses in Rivers State” he was quoted as saying.
The Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Zone C, Sanusi Umar, represented by Aminu Abba said the regional custom body would continue to provide platform to facilitate trade and access for import and export business to thrive. The South South Coordinator of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Azuka Ihejiofor, during her speech said, the trade fair would afford NEPC the opportunity to identify new innovations that will support the zero oil plan.
According to her, all countries are going back to the drawing board to find substitute for oil, with a view to brace up to the challenges ahead, saying the body will continue to work closely with PHCCIMA as partners.
Others who spoke include Brigadier General C.F.J Udeya who represented the General Officer Commanding, 6th Division Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. E.O Udoh, who assured participants of security throughout the fair. He said the command now has a division instead of brigade command in the state, meaning it has intensified security for the state.
Coordinator, South South of Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Ekpenyong Eke, expressed readiness to continue to facilitate processes that will enhance business in the state through seamless policies in the shipping sector, adding that the body will continue to collaborate with the chamber of commerce.
Standard Organization of Nigeria, Corporate Affairs Commission, and Permanent Secretary of Rivers State Ministry of Commerce, Sir Samuel Ibemeru amongst others, were also present.
The 13th Port Harcourt International Trade Fair which started on the 8th of December is expected to wrap up on the 20th of December 2017.
By: Anderson Hart.