Exhibitors decry low patronage at Lagos Trade Fair
Four days into the 31st edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair, exhibitors have decried low patronage of their wares.The traders also criticized the lackadaisical attitude of the organisers towards their plight. The challenges listed irregularities include poor ticketing, security challenges, and no parking space for visitors/customers.
When The Guardian visited the venue yesterday at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), the fair, which is being organised by the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), witnessed low turnout of customers. While speaking with The Guardian, an exhibitor from Ghana simply identified as Theresa who sells herbal drinks said that the 2019 fair was the third time she would come to promote her goods.
She said: “This is the third time that I have been coming here. This year’s sales is poor, people are not coming, there is no patronage, only a few come and go, they only seek to know the prices of products, test and go away, they don’t buy. But two years ago and by this time last year I had recorded a huge sales. I don’t know what could be responsible for this because I am not a Nigerian, my products are from Ghana.”
A coordinator at one of the exhibition stands who does not want his name in print and had been coming to market his goods since 2012 rated the sales at the ongoing trade fair low.“This year’s sale is too low compared with previous years. The people’s purchasing power is very low, so they couldn’t buy. I urge the government to improve the economy of the country so that ordinary Nigerians could afford basic things.”
One Christiana also noted that the fair has lost its flavour. “Everywhere is just quiet. The government should open the border and let money circulate. Things are really expensive so people could only afford to buy food.” She said.Another exhibitor simply identified as Franco who deals with electronics said, “This is my 10th year. There are no sales, nothing is happening. Maybe it is because of the hardship in the country, as we all know that the economy is bad. I also believe that the border closure is part of the low patronage.”
Meanwhile, some traders have attributed the low patronage to the attitude of the organisers in selling tickets to visitors.A participant in the fair who doesn’t wants to remain anonymous said, “The mode of ticketing is not encouraging so many people are discouraged. In previous years, the tickets were accessible. For instance, in previous years, car owners were given stickers so they brought their cars inside but now it is not so. People are uncomfortable to park their cars outside.”
A staff of an engineering company, said, “organization this year is poor compared to last year. The first couple of days was not organised and the security was rough. By 10.am on the first day, they had no tickets to sell to the people who wanted to gain entrance; they kept people waiting for more than three hours before they managed to get a few tickets. The first couple of days were hectic but it has normalized.”
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