By Tony Edike
ENUGUâ€”DIRECTOR General, Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Dr Emeka Okereke, has called on the Federal Government to as matter of urgency, release sufficientÂ fund to develop the permanent site of the Enugu Trade Fair Complex.
Okereke told reporters in Enugu, that unless substantial funds were made available to finance ongoing work at the complex, it will be difficult to host trade fair at the new site next year, as only 12 percent work had been done. The project worth N7billion was awarded in 2001.
He lamented that the speed of work at the permanent site is too slow,Â especially now that the Enugu state government had annexed the temporary trade fair site along Abakiliki road. He noted that with the pace of work, the place may not be ready to host the 2010 trade fair.
The ECCIMA DG identified â€œbottle neckÂ in due processâ€ as one of the major problem militating against the speedy completion of the project.
Expressing satisfaction with the efforts made so far by the Minister of Commerce, Chief Achike Udenwa towards the completion of the project, Okereke appealed to the government to approve substantial budget for the completion of the project.
He said, â€œfor now only about 12 per cent work has been done at the permanentÂ trade fair site barely few months to the 2010 fair. The speed is slow and will put us in a tight corner ahead of the fair. We need urgent intervention by government.
â€œA major problem is this due process bottle neck. We are not against due process but it is more confusing to say that money budgeted for the completion of work at the trade fair site was not used at the end of the year and therefore was returned to governmentâ€™s coffers, when the job is yet to be completed.Â Besides, we are asking government to allocate substantial budget to this project to speed-up completion.â€
Okereke, however, assured that ECCIMA is working on some options to avert total failure of the exercise.
He noted that the annual fair had significantly contributed to the development of the entire South East economy despite the economic difficulties and urged the governments of the zone to lend their support for a successful 2010 edition of the trade fair.