LAGOS – The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday declared the 2019 Lagos International Trade Fair closed, assuring investors that the government would continue to create the needed enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs. Lola Akande, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, said the administration would consolidate on the legacy of its predecessors to attract more investments to the state.
He said the government was committed to improving the ease of doing business, repositioning of the public service for effective service delivery and accelerating infrastructure development for a land of golden opportunities.
“The government will continue to harness Public Private Partnership in developing businesses in sectors including oil and gas, transportation, affordable housing, agriculture and manufacturing.
“With a population of over 22 million people, Lagos State remains the largest market in Africa for any discerning investor,” Sanwo-Olu added.
According to him, the recent $629 million deal between the government and China’s Habour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the development of Lekki Deep Sea Port project is an attestation of investors’ confidence in the state.
Earlier, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, LCCI President, said the trade fair was successful with all the investors having rewarding experiences, despite the evident limitations of the business environment, infrastructure challenges, recent border closure and the state of the economy.
Ruwase said: “It is heartwarming to note that participants had rewarding business interactions during the fair.
“The Nigerian business community and foreign investors have again demonstrated their confidence in the Nigerian economy. I commend and appreciate their resilience and faith in the Nigerian economy.
“It is our hope that the governments at all levels would continue to address the issues of enabling business environment in the country, especially as regards infrastructure.
“We need to do this in order to fully harness the huge enterprising resource of domestic and foreign investors for the diversification of our economy and the welfare of our people.”
Sanwo-Olu said the Lekki Free Trade Zone would transform Lagos to an economic hub when fully operational, adding that it was opened to both local and foreign investors.
He also commended the promoters of the fair, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), for creating the platform for businesses to interact and network towards boosting trade and investments.
The LCCI president specifically said: “With this year’s theme, the Lagos Chamber drew the attention of policy makers and economic managers on the need to restructure and diversify the productive base of the economy to critical non-oil sectors like agriculture and manufacturing. The Chamber remains resolute in promoting value addition in the non-oil sector in a bid to enhance industrialisation and fast-track the pace of economic growth”.
He, however, appealed to the Lagos State Government to assist in securing a permanent location for the exhibition to eliminate the challenges faced by the organisers and exhibitors annually.
It would be recalled that the 33rd Edition of the fair, which began on Nov. 1 at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, had the theme: “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value.”
Over two thousand exhibitors from Nigeria, China, Japan, Ghana, India, European Union, Indonesia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, India, Cameroun, Benin Republic and Ethiopia participated in the fair.