By Chinweoke Akoma
Traders at International Trade Fair Complex along Lagos-Badagry Expressway have rejected the proposed plan by the State Government to relocate fuel tankers and trucks to the market.
Speaking at a briefing, spokesman for the market unions at the complex, Dr. Jude Ringo Okeke, stated that the move would cripple business activities in the area.
“The Trade Fair Complex has been concessioned to private investors for 20 years, and since then more than 100,000 shops of various capacities and over 500 plazas have been built by individuals which has cost traders trillions of Naira in investment.
This is the sole international market serving Nigeria and the West Coast, as such the capacity of the market has been overstretched thus leading to heavy traffic in and out of the market daily.” he said.
Okeke, wondered why a government that says that the private sector is the engine of growth in the economy, should carry out a policy that would cripple investment and already established private-sector enterprises.
He noted that commercial activities in the Apapa area where these tankers and trucks are currently located have remained at very low ebb, making it impossible for meaningful investments.
“We have been faithful to our lease agreement with the Federal Government. The various market unions in the complex have been law abiding. That is why we are seriously worried by the recent newspaper publication on plan by the Lagos state government to relocate the trucks to this place. Presently, over 1,000 trucks come here either to deliver or carry goods from this place. You can imagine what would happen when these trucks and tankers add to the number given the fact that we have one entry and exit to the complex.
“This obviously, is a deliberate attempt to cripple our businesses. Millions of Nigerians largely depend on us for their livelihood; therefore a government that says it wants to tackle unemployment should not encourage policies that would shut down businesses. We therefore use this medium to urge government to reconsider this move for national interest,” he said