In this interview with SUZAN NWACHUKWU, president of Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA), Dr Muheeba Dankaka, speaks on the gains of Kaduna International Trade Fair billed to commence today and take home for participants.
What are your expectations for the Kaduna international trade fair and what do you have in mind for the participants?
The Kaduna Trade Fair has been in existence for about 40 years. It is one of the biggest trade fairs in Nigeria. This is the 39th edition of the fair and it is holding in Kaduna from February 23 to March 4.
This year, we adopted the theme “Promoting Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for International Competitiveness”. We will also feature a Business Roundtable on “Promoting Made in Nigerian Products for International Competitiveness”. This is in line with the diversification agenda of the government to none oil sectors. Kaduna State is like the headquarter of the North; hence, the trade fair is going to be huge.
What is the unique selling point for this year’s fair?
This year’s fair is unique because we have more than 10 countries that have indicated interest to participate and this time around, they won’t only be trading but will also be bringing in their expatriate knowledge so that Nigerians can partner and learn from them. We have participating industries from countries like the US, Egypt, Iran, India, China, Mali, Tunisia, Indonesia, Senegal, Niger, Pakistan, among others. We hope that at the end of the fair, we will have at least 20 to 30 new industries springing up in Kaduna.
What is your take on the quality of Made-in-Nigeria goods, especially as the fair is poised to promote it?
The issue is that Nigeria has what it takes to make goods of international quality. There have been a lot of success stories and that is what we want the world to see. The only area that we are a little deficient is packaging and labelling, which is where the expatriate knowledge will come in. We also have training grounds where people can learn how to produce new things. For instance, the US team is already on ground, building their pavilion. We also have people from Lagos and others that would be training.
On the other hand, we have quite a lot of manufacturers that are coming in to display their products. I have been assured of about 70 per cent who have shown interest and they all have made-in-Nigeria products.
The federal government has indicated interest in reviving local industries. What is the situation in Kaduna?
The enabling environment for industrialisation has been created in Kaduna State. For instance, if you have a business to do, Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has made it in a manner that ensures registration is done in less than two weeks, after which you can start your business and a land is even given to you. It is a welcome development to the chamber and it makes it easy for many of our members. Many companies and businesses are springing up and even textile companies, which had hitherto collapsed, are beginning to come up again.
What are the challenges facing KADCCIMA and how is the chamber surmounting them?
We are very lucky that there are not many challenges. We have a lot of partners who have shown interest in us. For example, in Dangote group among others, the chamber has found a worthy partner in the development of the Nigerian economy. Again, most of our patrons are ex-heads of state who always put us on the right part whenever we derail. My leadership thankfully has the support of all my council members who constantly guide me on what to do.
What is the security outlook, given the fear many Nigerians harbour about Kaduna State?
Kaduna is safe and the road to Kaduna is secured, the problem is that people exaggerate what is not real. I ply the road all the time and it is safe. This is also the reason we went all round to about 20 states to assure them of security. Last year’s fair was hitch-free, in terms of security and otherwise. We have put in place adequate security measures to ensure the safety of all. We encourage all to come and have a feel of the trade fair.
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