Saturday, July 13, 2024

Lagos government reiterates commitment to supporting SMEs

“It’s about telling our story. Nigerians are ready for business, and that is what we are seeing here today.”

• June 14, 2024
Idris Aregbe
Idris Aregbe [Credit: The Guardian Nigeria]

The Lagos state government has reiterated its commitment to boosting the ease of doing business and helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) thrive.

The special adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on tourism, arts and culture, Idris Aregbe, said this at the kickoff of the ‘Lagos Tourism Naija Brand Chick Fair’, held in Oregun, Lagos.

The three-day hybrid fair, organised by the state government, is holding from June 14 to June 16, with Wema Bank as the major sponsor.

Mr Aregbe said the trade fair was aimed at growing SMEs in the state, Nigeria and Africa at large.

“It is about growing the naira, about taking the average SME in Nigeria and Lagos and giving them the support they need.

“It’s about telling our story. Nigerians are ready for business, and that is what we are seeing here today.

“And that is what Lagos Tourism is about. It is also about music, dance, and art,” he said.

He called for support from all residents toward building the “Lagos of our dreams” through business, entertainment, and art to showcase the state to the world.

“A working Nigeria and a working Lagos is what we all need to do together,” he said.

Also, Wema Bank head of department (HOD) brand/marketing, Mabel Adeteye, said that the impact of the fair had been significant since the bank became a major sponsor in 2023.

Ms Adeteye said the fair was an opportunity to connect with customers and empower the SME business community, which is very important to the bank.

She emphasised the importance of market access for SMEs.

“Access to markets is crucial for businesses of all sizes because it determines their ability to sell products and services, reach customers, and expand their operations,” she said.

Meanwhile shoppers defied the rainfall to attend the fair as those who spoke to journalists expressed their joy at finding affordable and quality local products, as well as goods from other states.

A cloth vendor selling children’s jean trousers at N1,000 each struggled to control the crowd, mostly women, who created human traffic as they bought large quantities.

One shopper, Hajia Hadiza Bankole, a trader, said that she bought 30 pieces because she owns a boutique.

“The prices are incredible. I bought it for children between ages one and 12. I believe I can finish selling all during this Sallah,” she said.

Another shopper, Uduak Uzor, said she was able to buy hair care products from a vendor that came from Abuja.

“I always see these products online. Today, I was able to buy as many as I wanted without thinking of shipping costs,” she said.

An exhibitor, Mary Ojora, thanked the Lagos state government for the opportunity to make sales and connect with clients.

Ms Ojora, the marketing manager of Blends and Blinzg, appreciated the platform to showcase all the firm’s brands, which are 100 per cent made in Nigeria.

Another exhibitor of paints and other wall products, Mrs Precious Kenneth, said her firm was leveraging contacts from travel agencies and other luxury item providers at the fair.

“We are here because people who come to buy clothes and travel would also need to live in beautiful houses. We are here for everyone,” she said.

There were several side attractions, including the sale of various cuisines, pastries, drinks, medical checks, music, and more.

(NAN)

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