By Chinelo Obogo
The Federal Government is working with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and other relevant stakeholders to resolve areas of conflict ahead of the concession of the Lagos Trade Fair Complex, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo has said.
Adebayo who disclosed this in Lagos on Friday during his fact-finding visit to the complex, listed the recovery of the facility’s land already being encroached on as part of things to be resolved.
He said the facility is an indicator of Nigeria’s potential as a great trading nation, given the endowment of men and women imbued with the spirit of enterprise and creativity.
“I am especially happy today as it is my first official opportunity to visit at the invitation of the new Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Sir Charles Onyeka Okoye. With his track record, he is someone I believe will do well in this position by stepping up to the challenges of the time. I ask that he and the rest of the leadership focus their efforts on shaping the future of the complex.”
He acknowledged the reality of the decaying infrastructure, stating 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. I assure you of the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that it is not just fully revitalised but also developed into a world class trading center. This goes beyond just the facilities.
“This is a challenging time worldwide and things are not easy for the average Nigerian. The ministry is determined to ensure that the thousands of traders here have what is needed to make goods available to their customers at a fair price. We are also aware that over time, the Trade Fair land has been encroached upon. We are working hard to enumerate everything lost before it is fully reclaimed.
“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. I am pleased that the complex is becoming more unified, and the spirit of friendship and collaboration is growing.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the LITF Complex Management Board, Charles Okoye, expressed the team’s determination to improve the facility and boost revenue generation and remittance to the Federal Government.
“Within these two months of my official resumption, we have fully set up and deployed a waste management taskforce, which duties are to clear waste and enforce the ban on the proliferation of refuse dumps on the roads all through 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, leading to the congestion of the road with human and vehicular traffic.
“We are currently in advanced talks with private waste management companies to develop a bio-gas power generation infrastructure as an alternative source of power for key projects within the complex. This would be fed by the huge deposit of waste generated from the complex, thereby putting a permanent fix on the issue of waste management.”
Meanwhile, the stakeholders and heads of the different segments of the complex have listed as top requirements from the Federal Government the need to fix the over five kilometre road within the facility and the alternative access roads to address the worsening gridlock in and out of the premises.
They informed the minister that they have already completed one on their own, awaiting its commissioning. They also requested an expansion of the facility land to accommodate the growing influx of businesses to the complex.
They urged the government to resolve the the issues bordering on the extant lease agreement of1994 as part of the committee’s job, to ensure a win-win for all.