The First South-South international Fair being organised by Coalition of South-South Chamber of Industry, Mines and Agriculture (FOSSCCIMA) has attracted the interest of over 500 companies as prospective participants across the country and West African sub-region. This information about the International Trade Fair slated for April 10-30, 2016 at Isaac Boro Park, Port Harcourt, Rivers State will attract businesses across all sectors of the economy according to the organizers at a meeting with select editors.
The President of FOSSCCIMA, Prince Billy Harry during a press conference in Port Harcourt, said the association will strive to create strategic partnership with the government in order to attract investment and growth in the region’s economy.
He noted that the fair would create opportunities for unemployed youths to be engaged, stressing that the organization’s focus is to reduce youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.
According to Mr. Harry, “FOSSCCIMA will strive to create strategic partnership, sound coordination and cooperation with both the Federal and state governments in the region. This, he said will help to attract investment, encourage more companies to make investment in the region, engage youths and provide platform for continued dialogue towards reduction of youth restiveness.
He said, “We believe that the chains of poverty, environmental degradation, neglect, economic abuse, injustice and absence of visible economic investment in the South-South needs to be severed and not just symbolically but radically through investment in infrastructure, improved youth empowerment and engagement, sustained growth of SMEs and new opportunities.”
At the trade fair, he noted that a project termed RUMSSY (Registration of Unemployed South-South Youths) would be launched and it is going to run throughout the three- week duration of the Trade fair.
The project, he added would provide an avenue where unemployed skilled and unskilled youths in the south-south region will be registered.
Commenting on this, the President explained that , “RUMSSY, a very unique project –the registration of all the unemployed south-south youths is one of the most critical and significant socio- economic change requirements in our region. What we need in the entire country today is youth empowerment, youth engagement and youth unemployment is reported to be as high as 35per cent especially among the 18-24 year range”
He further stated that the past administration established the GIS (Graduate Internship scheme) as part of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE – P) which was claimed to be capable of creating jobs for 50,000 youths across the country to develop their skills and empower them for employment in the short/medium/long. However, he lamented that the effectiveness of that programme and its real/positive impact on youths in the South-south is yet to be realized.
Also commenting, the Chairman, marketing, media and publicity, Mr. Lucky Akhiwu said multi-sectoral trade fair would provide an ideal and perfect business matchmaking platform for all kinds of businesses opportunities and connections.
He further explained that, “despite growing concerns about the rapid decline in our foreign exchange earnings occasioned by the global fall in oil prices and its multiplier effects on economic development in the South-South region in particular and the country in general, we have received a high level of interest from the business community towards the forthcoming Trade fair is surprising but encouraging too.
“We are expecting over 500 companies from across the country and the West African sub-region especially those with existing businesses and business interests in the region as well as others wishing to tap and leverage her huge market opportunities and potentials,” he stated.
The President while commenting on talent hunt project, tagged “Night of stars” explained that the region has produced some of the best arisits with hundreds of hidden and unrecognized talents yet to be discovered.
According to him, “With the theme of the trade fair “Growing the south-south economy to establish enduring peace & security of the region to impact Nigeria” in mind, FOSSCCIMA is organizing the ‘Nights of stars’ a talent hunt project to identify, showcase and most importantly, enable potential young change-makers from the region to actualize their talent in the now money-spinning Nigerian entertainment industry.
Akhiwu disclosed that the region has produced some of the best hundreds of hidden and unrecognized talents.” There is over N2million cash prizes available across four categories of contestants namely. Singing, dancing, comedy and djs. Winners will be given recording, performance, management and marketing contracts by FOSSCCIMA.
Besides, he assured that the association has invited top producers, music marketing companies and artiste managers to attend and help select, superintend and bring the dreams of youths to fruition
“There will be three Sundays of intense praise and worship concert which is called the sounds of Easter packaged to accommodate upcoming gospel artistes and established stars, Top pastors and over 20,000 member congregation have been invited,” he explained.