By Charles Nwaoguji
The 2019 Lagos international trade fair ended yesterday with mixed feelings among exhibitors and customers, as there was low turnout and sales. Products and services were on offer, ranging from fast-moving goods to household items, electronics, and vehicles.
Many visitors who spoke to Skybirdnews Group claimed the prices of goods were not better compared to what is available in the open market. They were therefore not happy, as they were expecting the prices at the fair would be lower with enticing discounts.
The low turnout of visitors with its attendant low sales was attributed to the low purchasing power due to the downturn in the economy. Though there were a number of first-time exhibitors from Nigeria and Ghana, who were happy to be at the trade fair, they, however, complained about sales and return on investment.
When Daily Sun went round the fair complex yesterday, visitors were seen moving round while exhibitors were making sales, though some of the exhibitors had already pulled down their stands before 3:00p.m.
Managing Director of FAE Limited, Mrs. F. Abiodun, said this year makes it the several years he would be attending as an exhibitor as it provides opportunity to meet new customers, investors and collaborators. she, however, said his expectations were not met, as there was low turnout of visitors and sales.
She added that the turnout and sales last year was better compared with this year’s experience. He was happy though that a lot of the people who visited his stand commended him for displaying and offering good products.
On her part, Oladayo Lawal from Faaks Enterprise, Vono foam authorised dealer, noted also that there was low turnout of visitors, while many who visited her stand did not buy any product. She complained about her company being allocated a new location for its stand, away from its traditional spot at the fair.
According to her, some of the visitors complained about the no music order introduced this year. “Blaring of music was banned because of noise pollution. Also, the security guys were too harsh on visitors as they were not patient. I was once stopped from entering despite having my exhibition tag pass on.”
A foreign exhibitor from Ghana, Roseline Ashigbui, a first timer, who displayed branded healthy snacks, said the experience was good but not sure if she would return next year. She complained about sales as many Nigerians were not willing to buy as they claimed the price was on the high side. This, she attributed to the currency conversion from Ghana Cedi to Naira.
Speaking yesterday at the fair, president of the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Paul Ruwase, said globalisation has forced the need to connect businesses, which is what the trade fairs provide. He added that the ensuring value for businesses is the target of the fairs and LCC has met it.
The Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Lola Akande said the state government understands that small and medium enterprises are key to growing the economy and the success of the state, reason it is paying special attention to SMEs and supporting them to succeed and why government provided free space to SMEs to exhibit their products within the Lagos State pavilion at the fair.
While assuring that government would continue to stimulate the growth of the economy by providing the enabling environment for business activities in the State through the provision of necessary infrastructure, she stressed that, as much as government was concerned about the need for more businesses to spring up in the State, it was also determined to make existing ones grow adequately.
The Commissioner said, government would remove constraints affecting the smooth operations of businesses in the State.
She called on investors and members of the private sector to partner with the government, as the present administration was making efforts to move the economy of the State to a higher level.