By Bose Adelaja
The 26th Lagos International Trade Fair as organised by Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, may have come and gone but the memory lingers on among many Lagosians, especially those on Lagos Island given the proximity of the venue, Tafawa Balewa Square, TBS.
To some, the 10-day fair which began on Friday November 2 and ended last Sunday, was a beehive of activities as it played host to people from diverse fields. But to others, it was the largest meeting point for an all-inclusive participation by all stakeholders in the business, investment and commerce world, especially in the West-African sub-region.
The fair was shifted from its traditional Trade Fair Complex venue on the Lagos-Badagry expressway to TBS due to the on-going construction works on the expressway. According to reports, this year’s event with the theme: “Promoting Trade for a Sustainable Economic Transformation” attracted over 500,000 foreign and local exhibitors.
But the fair was almost marred by the fact that many people were forced to trek several kilometres to the venue and back home as the roads leading to the TBS witnessed a glut of human and vehicular activities, especially during Vanguard Metro’s visit last Thursday. Places like Awolowo Road, Onikan, Obalende and the popular Marina were no exception as so much man hours were lost to the resulting gridlock.
Some participants who spoke to VM said the trade fair was full of fun but called on the organisers to take steps to ensure better performance in future. Chief Executive Officer of a manufacturing company in Lagos, Alhaji Lateef Odekunle, said the fair was an avenue to meet new faces in the sector. “It was a period when my company usually records a boost in business. For instance, we recorded about 75 per cent sales during the period,” he said, beaming with smiles.
Another participant Madam Maria Okorie said the annual event is usually an avenue to relate directly with some manufacturing companies. “I use the opportunity to get original hair products; adulterated products are everywhere but the fair has enabled me to deal directly with the manufacturers. That is why I come all the way from Matori,” she said.
However, Okorie lamented shortage of parking space around the trade fair complex, decrying the N500 she paid for using the car park.
Superintendent of Press, TBS, Mr. Okeoma Ugochukwu, said the trade fair complex can no longer cope with the volume of human traffic to the event. “The trade fair usually attracts a huge crowd; as a result, traffic jam is the order of the day. TBS is too small for this type of event because it involves many companies,” he noted.
With a gate fee of N200, the trade fair has enabled some people to explore new ideas or mix and interact with others. For instance, a resident of Onikan, Mrs. Arowolo Mojisola, said the trade fair has helped her put food on her table. “I lost my job with a new generation bank since January but I was able to utilise the trade fair to the fullest. I rented a space near the complex where I sell drinks and snacks and by the grace of God, I was able to put food on my table compared with what obtained since January,” said Arowolo.
A marketer with a herbal company, who simply gave his name as Mafia, said he recorded a daily profit of about N2,000 at the fair. “I stayed at the bus-stop to hawk the products which was well patronised. I work on commission basis and was able to record a minimum of N2,000 daily profit,” he informed.