The 5th Edition of the Port Harcourt International Trade Fair, has made remarkable improvement when compared with previous editions. This is the opinion of some market operators and the organizers of the event, the Port Harcourt Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (PHCCIMA).
Though, both the organisers and some of the operators share a common idea, that all sales in the Trade -Fair has over 20 per cent discount compared to the open market prices.
Some exhibitors came from far North, West and some neigbouring states, life Bayelsa, Imo, Abia and others.
In the views of the 2nd Deputy President of PHCCIMA, Dr. Renny Cookey, the 5th Port Harcourt International Trade Fair as organised by his organisation, is getting better and better over the years. The highlight of this year’s edition he said, was the opening ceremony which was formerly launched by the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, who was ably represented by his Commissioner for Commerce, Hon (Chief) Ogbonna Nwuke last week.
Dr. Cookey, hinted that the opening ceremony was followed by a meeting with the Minister of Commerce and Former Governor of Imo State, Chief Achike Udenwa.
According to him, Udenwa spent about two days at the Trade Fair. He said the minister’s main campaign during his two day stay was “much noise about the promotion of made in Nigeria goods.”
The PHCCIMA boss admitted that the patronage of made in Nigeria goods are of a low patronage, saying that they are substandard.
Another reason he gave for the low patronage of made in Nigeria goods was orientation. He argued that people still believe that anything that is imported is of a superior quality to the made in Nigeria goods.
He explained that some of the products exhibited in this year’s Trade Fair are or a better standard but people still do not like or buy them simply because it is branded made in Nigeria but when rebranded made in Japan they buy them.
“Some of the products exhibited this year are of standard. But I can tell you that some of the products are better than foreign qualities. And I can tell you that some shoes made in Aba are branded made in Japan just to gain the market and nobody has disputed the quality, and it has to do with orientation,” he said.
He boasted that he is aware of a lady here in Nigeria, who makes and exports shirts to Marks and Spencer in United Kingdom. Because the quality of the production is very high. He pointed that tht because of the high quality of workshops like Marks and Spencer, anyone maybe willing to buy.
About the issue of enlightenment campaign for made in Nigeria goods, he said that the Ministry of Commerce has to partner PHCCIMA in the promotion of or in the encouragement of the purchase of Home made goods or getting people aware.
The Ministry of Commerce, or Government, he said, are, not in business, but the chambers which is the representative of the organised private sector, needs be allowed more participation in the campaign for Home made goods.
He stressed that PHCCIMA has access to all market operators and manufacturers, saying that if given the platform to carry out the campaign, it will achieve a high awareness range more than the government.
He revealed that by Wednesday December 23, 2009, when the Trade Fair will formally end, almost double of the present exhibitors are expected in the market, adding, that it has become almost a tradition in the Trade Fair where some exhibitors believe customers patronize them more towards the end of the Trade Fair in the preparation for Christmas celebration.
To this end, he said more products ranging from cars, boats, Generators, plough moulers and other products will be displayed. He hinted that some big market makers like Dangote, Grevok, Eastern Enamel Ware and others will hit the market.
Concerning security, there are plain and uniformed security operatives. The uniformed men, he said are organized by Medalion, to mount surveillance and monitoring of the market are noting that, the level of security is high, and exhibitors were happy to bring in expensive products to the market without fear.
Live entertainment was also part of this year’s Trade Fair where operators and buyers relax at the end of the day’s business.
When asked whether some of the Casino stands at the Trade Fair were part of his arrangements, he said no, saying that they (PHCCIMA) are not at the place to promote gambling, adding that such activity was not part of the objectives of the Trade Fair.
Some operators like Engr. Calistus Eziudu of Geopan Nig Ltd., who also spoke with The Tide, said he was there in the market to test-run products for customers before they carry it home.
Engineer Eziudu said since his company deals on generating sets, it was out of place to allow customers bear the risk of returning to the market should their purchased products fail at home.
Comparing this year’s edition of Trade Fair to that of last year, he subscribed to the fact that there was an improvement and an upward movement in terms of patronage.
The Geopan Nigeria Limited Engineer, who was full of praises for the organizers of the Trade Fair, explained that some people were not yet aware of the importance of Trade Fair due to lack of proper enlightenment campaign programme. According to him, some people only came to the market due to some jingles done by some private companies, and therefore, called on PHCCIMA to do more in the areas of publicity.
The sales executive of Medic Company Limited, Joy Awuamba who was of a different view, said the market performance was poor compared to that of last year.
Agwuanba said that the market, which has lasted about nine days as at Friday last week has little or nothing to show for it.
The sales executive officer of Medic Company Limited, said though her products (security gadgets) are not a selling, blamed the low patronage on the yet-to be paid workers’ salaries and bonuses for the month.
She pointed out that her company reduced sales to almost 40 per cent discount but all to no avail.
Oku Perkins, who shared this view of low patronage with his colleagues, said that the economic hardship, has affected negatively on that people’s purchasing power.
Perkins called on the organizers of the Trade Fair not to allow it coincide with any government’s function. He argued that Friday sales was very low due to the CARNIRIV, saying that people also went there to buy as some exhibitors were reportedly seen at the venue.
In the area of s tall allocation, he regretted that the organizers take a cut-t hroat of about N400-N500 per square metre. He said that the organizers should reduce it so that more exhibitors can come to the market.
The challenges in the Trade Fair he said, was lack of convenience, accommodation for exhibitors. He lamented that exhibitors in the market go miles in order to have themselves “cleaned up” and as well get dressed for the next day’s assignment.
Emiola Naturalist Care Limited, who also occupied about 120 square metres at Isaac Boro Park, venue for the 5th edition of Port Harcourt International Trade Fair, lamented that after paying upto N60,000, (electricity inclusive) for the space he booked for, the trade fair was not provided with light as promised by the organizers of the trade fair.
Speaking to The Tide, the company’s Principal Consultant, Mr Ayobami Adejare, noted that the company’s participation in the next year’s exhibition will be determined by a
strong promise by the organizers to improve on the area of power provision.
Mr Adejare, regretted that after paying such a huge sum, the company still spends over N2,000 on daily basis to fuel the generating set in order to power its space at the trade fair.
He also intimated the organizers on the need to do more on promo and announcement. He said that lack of enough promo and announcement was part of the setback the trade fair suffered this year, saying that people only started coming to the market after some companies went on air.
The product champion of Oceanic Bank Plc, Mr Sylvester, agree that there is low turn out of customers in this year’s edition of trade fair. He said over the years, turn out of customers have been encouraging, but could not say why this year was a different ball game.
He also admitted that customers still patronised the bank and others despite the low performance of the market.
Redeployed Customs Officers Assume Office At New Posts
Redeployed Zonal coordinators and controllers affected by the recent swapping exercise in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have since taken over their new posts.
Assistant Comptroller General and Comptrollers affected by the change of batons have gone into action in the respective Zones and Area Commands respectively.
As at Press time, ACG Bello Jibo, the new Coordinator, Zone A, has begun to hold forth at the Harvey Road Zonal Headquarters in Yaba, Lagos.
Comptroller Dera Nnadi, Jaiyeoba, and Shuaibu have resumed their duties as Customs Area Controllers of Tincan Island Port, Apapa and Idiroko Commands respectively.
Comptroller Timi Bomodi has also begun overseeing customs activities at Seme-Krake Border Command.
In an exclusive chat with The Tide, Chairman, Seme Chapter of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Clearing Agent (ANLCA), Chief Oyekachukwu Ojinma (aka Sule) described the outgoing Controller of the Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, as a very hard-working and dedicated man, while welcoming the new Customs Area Controller to the border post.
The ANLCA Chairman expressed his wish for a successful tenure of office for Compt. Timi Bomodi.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
‘Electricity Act Will Transform Power Sector’
Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, has stated that the recently signed Nigerian Electricity Act, 2023, will play a fundamental role in transforming the power sector.
According to him, it will unlock the potential of the energy mix and promote the integration of renewable energy technologies into the grid system.
Speaking at the ongoing Nigeria Energy Conference and exhibition in Lagos, Adelabu said the Act aims to create an environment that supports sustainable growth and investment in the power industry by focusing on accelerated private investment and the promotion of renewable energy sources.
“As a game-changer that reformed the NESI, the Electricity Act will, undoubtedly, engender increased access to electricity and regulatory oversight, clean energy transition, improved service delivery, and infrastructural developments.
“In particular, the act will stimulate economic growth by creating a conducive environment for investment and competition. It will generate job opportunities, encourage entrepreneurship, and attract foreign direct investments”, he said.
The Minister called on operators in the power sector to intensify their efforts towards improving communication with the general public, emphasising that the Nigerian masses have a lot of roles to play in safeguarding power infrastructure.
He said issues such as vandalism, passing of meters, and damage to TCN and DisCo infrastructure must be addressed holistically to make significant gains in the power sector.
Adelabu emphasised that the power sector is a cornerstone for economic growth in the country and that the gains made over the years in the power sector can only be consolidated by unlocking equity investments and funds for power development.
He said: “Of course, a lot of investment is required in the power sector. In three weeks, I’ve seen humongous investments that have come into this sector.
“But what are the steps that are required for those investment opportunities to reap the benefit of those investments, additional investments in the form of equity and capex need to come into this industry.
“The power sector is not an industry for short-term players to invest in less than two to three years and expect to make maximum benefits.
“The industry requires medium to long-term investments. Investors must understand that the moment we can break even, we will start making profits in the power sector.
Adelabu also urged operators in the NESI value chain to improve their service delivery, adding that Nigeria’s energy expansion plan of 60,000 Megawatts by 2060 is an achievable target.
He, therefore, called on gas companies, GenCos, TCN, and DIScO to showcase their success stories in generating and transmitting power to the last mile that pays for all the segments of operators in the value chain.
‘Nigeria Loses $1.5bn Annually To Malnutrition’
Minister for Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, has said Nigeria loses $1.5 billion of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually due to micronutrient deficiencies.
Bagudu therefore called for coordinated efforts to ensure a swift response with expected positive outcomes.
A statement released by the Ministry said the Minister disclosed this, last Tuesday, while speaking at the 53rd Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria in Abuja.
In the statement, Bagudu noted that the government was determined to tackle malnutrition through the inclusion of nutrition in the National Development Plan, and the Nigeria Agenda 2050.
“It is also a commitment to achieving optimal nutrition status for all Nigerians with particular attention to the vulnerable group as highlighted in the National Multisectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition”, he said.
Bagudu, who urged experts in nutrition in the country to research and develop innovations that will boost nutrition, explained that doing this “would contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring Universal Health Coverage, and bringing about significant positive changes in the nutrition sector in Nigeria”.
He told members of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria “to prioritise innovation and research in the field of nutrition towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, Universal Health Coverage and transformation of the landscape of nutrition in Nigeria.
“Nigeria currently requires nutrition professionals who have extensive knowledge, good communication skills to address nutrition education, emotional intelligence as well and a good understanding of self-motivation and drive to address nutrition dynamics”.
The Minister urged the NSN to embrace technology, leverage digital solutions, and invest in research and development to find sustainable and scalable solutions to Nigeria’s nutrition challenges.
He assured members of the NSN that his ministry would strengthen coordination and provide the required leadership for the nutrition sector.
The Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, in his goodwill message, said the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) had identified areas of key commitments for the realisation of a healthier citizen and country, including increasing budgetary spending on nutrition and strengthening the nutrition profile.
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