The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has assured of the government’s commitment to ensuring that the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex (LITFC) was developed into a world-class trading centre.
He gave the assurance in Lagos at the weekend during his first visit to the complex on the invitation of the new Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LITFC, Sir Charles Onyeka Okoye.
He said in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to renovate the facility, a committee, which he was part, had been set up to work out the modality for the concessioning of the complex by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
The minister stated that the report of the committee was being expected by the Ministry, after which it would sit with the BPE management to see what could be done.
“Before you can concession, you must have proper parameters of what you are going to concession. So, from the committee’s report, we will know how much the government land has been taken away, and we try to get it back to decide, which part of the government land will be concessioned.
But any land that has been encroached upon will be recovered. We are also going to look into all the issues that have arisen, including some lease agreements in respect of the Complex with a view to making sure that nobody is short-changed,” Adebayo assured.
He said the LITFC is a place he loves visiting “Because it reminds me of the potential Nigeria has for being a great trading nation, especially given our huge endowment of men and women imbued with the spirit of enterprise and creativity”.
Adebayo, however, regretted that over the years, the infrastructure within the complex has declined. “Some of the older people here may remember how breathtaking this complex was when it was first built in the 1970s,” he said.
He said the full revitalisation of the Complex under a concession arrangement goes beyond just the development of facilities, but that the Ministry was determined to ensure that thousands of traders have what is needed to be able to make goods available to their customers at a fair price.
Traders are the backbone of our society; we cannot survive as a nation without your contribution to the economy and the goods that you provide. Our ministry will ensure that your rights are fully protected.
“We are also aware that over time, the Trade Fair land has been encroached upon. We are working hard to ensure that everything it has lost is fully reclaimed,” he assured, noting that this is a challenging time worldwide and things are not easy for the common man.
Okoye assured the minister that his team were determined and positioned to do all within their capacities to improve on the state of the facility and boost revenue generation and remittance to the Federal Government.
Accordingly, he said within two months of his assumption of office as the Executive Director/CEO of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex Management Board (LITFCMB), his team has fully set up and deployed a Waste Management Taskforce to clear waste and enforce the ban on the proliferation of refuse dumps on roads within the Complex.
“Through this Taskforce, we have enforced a phased massive decongestion of the access roads with particular emphasis on the exit gate of the Trade Fair Complex, which hitherto was occupied by petty traders,” Okoye added.
He also said the team is currently in advanced talks with private waste management companies with a view to developing a bio-gas power generation infrastructure as an alternative source of power for key projects within the Complex.
According to him, the bio-gas power generation infrastructure will be fed by the huge deposit of waste generated from the complex, thereby putting a permanent fix on the issue of waste management.
The LITFC CEO also said a Drainage Control Taskforce has been set up and deployed, and is currently embarking on the evacuation of all mainstream and feeder drainage channels within the Complex, to curb the flood menace that has lingered for a while before the inception of his administration.
He listed other initiatives aimed at improving on the state of the facility to include the setting up of a Road Maintenance Taskforce, to fix and maintain all road networks within the Complex; development of a network-based server, an international file sharing system that would make internal operations digitized and seamless.