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Lagos trade fair begins today amid border closure

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Artisans working on stands as goods move into TBS, venue of the fair. PHOTO: SUNDAY ODITA

The atmosphere of the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, was different yesterday with last-minute preparations as the 31st edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair begins today. The fair, which is being promoted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), will hold from November 1 to 10, with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors from Nigeria and across the world expected to participate.

When The Guardian visited TBS yesterday, many artisans were putting finishing touches to exhibition pavilions, stands, and booths to erect their structures while both local and foreign exhibitors were seen bringing their goods into the venue. Items being exhibited at the fair include household electrical appliances, generating sets, inverters, furniture, tyres, computers, African fabrics and artworks among others.

An art exhibitor, Mr. Timileyin Omidiran, from the Omidiran African Arts Gallery, Ile Ife, said the gallery had a long history with the organisers and had been participating for the past 15 years. “Our past experiences have been good and hopefully this year will be better,” he said.

The Director-General of LCCI, Muda Yusuf, said corporate organizations expected at the fair include multinational corporations, indigenous conglomerates and financial institutions as well as SMEs. He, however, noted that the land border closure with Nigeria’s neighbours would likely affect the 10-day event.

According to Yusuf, a lot of traders and exhibitors wishing to participate in the fair may be negatively affected by the partial border closure as traders and exhibitors wishing to come to Lagos from other West African countries may not be able to do so except government decides to open the borders fully during the duration of the fair.

But giving insight on what to expect at the fair, Chief (Mrs.) Morenike Dele-Alimi, managing director, MD Perspective Nigeria Limited, said the United Asia International Exhibition Company (UAEC) will play host to over 1,000 exhibitors drawn from local and international participants. She said the trade exhibition is going to bring together business people as well as ensure that interested Nigerians can directly interface with their counterparts from China, including original equipment manufacturers and producers.

“Our mandate is to ensure that local businesses are able to network with the right kind of people such that after meeting these people they can know if the business is doable even before they take a step further. That way they are guaranteed that they are doing business with legitimate businessmen,” she said.


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