Trade Fair: FG lauds ACCI’s commitment on industrial development

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The Federal Government has commended the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on its commitment toward ensuring development of industrial and trade activities.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo  gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja, at the opening of the 15th Abuja International Trade Fair being organised by ACCI.

Adebayo said ACCI had been persistently promoting trade and commerce in Nigeria, noting that the duo played significant role in economic growth of the nation, whilst building wealth and improving foreign reserves.

“This event is coming at a time that mankind is struggling to overcome the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has massively impacted activities and economy as a whole.

“Despite its impact, our administration has noted the opportunities inherent in such a challenging time.

“The launching of N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) in March, 2020 further underscores Federal Government’s commitment to enhance local production, support businesses, provide jobs and succour to fellow Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable demographics,’’ he said.

Alongside interventions in critical areas, he noted that the ESP had also prioritised the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), a segment which accounted for 50 per cent of national Gross Domestic Product.

He said it was important to provide the necessary support to this segment to enable them to respond to the impact of COVID-19.

On recent government MSMEs initiatives, he said the N60 billion MSMEs Survival Fund and N15 billion MSMEs Guaranteed Off-take Scheme were to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting payroll obligations and safeguard jobs from shock of COVID-19 pandemic.

“To boost our trade activities and prospects, we must support locally manufactured goods. It is in this regard our government signed the Executive Order 003 in 2017, and several campaigns have been launched to create necessary awareness and momentum.

“We will continue to take specific steps to improve implementation of this laudable policy,’’ he said.

In an address, Prince Adetokunbo  Kayode, ACCI President, said that over the years, it had been reforming its organisation of trade fairs as applicable in other parts of the world to satisfy customers.

He said it was introducing modern practices in line with international best practices and conforming with COVID-19 protocols.

Kayode said that businesses that patronised the fairs would have value for money, then such events would be expanded in subsequent years.

The ACCI president decried the impact of #EndSARS protests which affected many businesses across the country. He said the findings of ACCI Policy and Advocacy Centre (PAC) revealed that Abuja lost roughly N900m to the protest.

“Over the weekend, the country slipped into second recession in five years.

“The decline in GDP for the third quarter of 2020 is not unconnected with low activities both  at domestic and international levels which hugely affected economic growth because of several lockdown measures.

“We must learn from it and put the lessons learned into action,’’ Kayode said.

The fair, which will only showcase indoor and virtual exhibitions at Abuja Trade and Convention Centre, has as theme “Trade and Commerce Beyond Borders”.