President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday declared the 2019 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair open, reiterating that Nigerians should continue to patronise locally-made products and services to grow the nation’s economy.
Thousands of visitors and hundreds of both local and foreign exhibitors are expected to participate in the 33rd Edition of the fair which has the theme : “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value.”
The president, represented by Mariam Katagum, the minister of state for industry, trade and investment, said that the federal government was committed to its mandate of providing assistance that would guarantee the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
According to him, this is to ensure that their products meet with acceptable global standards.
Buhari said : “To this end, I want to use this opportunity to reiterate my call for Nigerians to patronise Made-in-Nigeria products and services.
“We must accept our new reality of promoting locally-made products, as it is evident that this is where our New Nigeria will be realised.
“That is why I have constantly emphasised that we must be a Nation where we grow what we eat and consume what we produce.
“This has wonderfully led to a massive nationwide agricultural reawakening, which without a doubt remains our most viable option for economic diversification as a government and nation. ”
The president said the focus of the government to diversify the economy using the private sector as an arrow head was ongoing through various efforts such as enhancing the Export Expansion Grant initiative.
He said the task to transform Nigeria into an industrial giant could not be achieved without the needed collaboration with the private sector to ensure an inclusive and sustainable path toward growth, job creation and economic development.
Buhari said that the non-availability of white-collar jobs had made it imperative for Nigerian youths to embrace entrepreneurship development which would make them to become economically empowered.
The president commended LCCI for organising the fair, which he described as a vital economic tool for the realisation of the government’s agenda for the industrial upgrade and economic development of the country.
“This will not only enhance business confidence but may also lead to an increased level of Foreign Direct Investment into our country, ” he said.
Also, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his deputy, Mr. Obafemi Hamzat, assured LCCI and other investors that the government would continue to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said : “Our commitment to promoting and connecting businesses across transnational borders remains strong and unshaken.
“We shall leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Lagos State truly becomes a 21st century economy which actively supports the growth of the local economy through improved ease of doing business, innovative incentives and interventions, as well as quality service delivery by a well-motivated public service. ”
Sanwo-Olu noted that Lagos was Africa’s model megacity and melting pot of business and industrial activ