Customers on Saturday, expressed satisfaction with the quality of products displayed by the exhibitors at the ongoing 8th edition of Made-In-Aba Trade Fair in Abuja.
The customers, in separate interviews also expressed delight for extending the event earlier scheduled to end Nov. 13. to Nov 16.
The trade fair organised by Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) is with the theme “Harnessing Business Opportunities Beyond Covid-19 Drawbacks’’.
While commending the exhibitors for presenting high quality goods at affordable prices, they urged the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructure, particularly electricity to promote the activities of MSMEs in Nigeria.
Mrs Treasure Adeyinka, a staff of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) described the products as surpassing their expectations and very affordable compared to prices from regular stores.
“This has shown that Nigeria is developing. Our products are beautiful enough to be exported and sold to other countries. We should be proud of our artisans.
“The trade fair is an eye-opener for anyone who has Nigeria’s interest at heart and every effort must be in place to make Made-in-Aba products a first option for all,’’ Adeyinka said.
Mr Ernest Cosmas, CEO of Fresh Boutique described the trade fair as the best place to source for products and update personal wardrobes as the goods are of high standard.
Cosmas noted that aside less prices, the goods conform to modern designs. “I take up opportunities like the fair to restock my shop because I know that the products are durable and cheap. I can easily get trendy products for my clients,’’ he said.
Cosmas, however expressed disappointment at the turnout of customers. “I stepped out in a hurry thinking that I had already missed the better part of the fair.
I expected the venue to be filled with people patronising one item or the other.
“It only goes to show that many people do not know the value of the products brought closer to them all the way from Aba,’’ he said.
Cosmas called for increased awareness to attract increased patronage. Meanwhile, Mrs Kelechi Uzoma, described the fair as a platform for the celebration of Nigeria’s craftsmanship.
“The fair showcases our ankara made products which is an integral part of our identity as Nigerians.
“The resources generated from the products of our hands cannot be limited. “Majority of what is placed on display was created with out the aid of industrial machines.
“Imagine the industry that can be created if the equipments were acquired,” she said.
Uzome pointed out that Aba-made products were natural resources yet to be fully mined and discovered.
Miss Elizabeth Irabor, a member of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) expressed delight over change in the closing date. She stressed that the new date was a second opportunity for customers yet to visit the trade fair.
“This is a chance to come with my friends and family as they are not aware of the trade fair.
It is an opportunity for us to get one or two items for Christmas and New Year celebrations,” she said.
Abaribe, who is the facilitator of the trade fair, had stressed that Made-in-Aba goods were receiving global acceptance due to improved qualities thus the need to stimulate increased patronage.
According to him, the trade fair will provide a platform for the artisans to deepen their market and improve the quality of the goods produced locally.
Abaribe added that the trade fair would be a celebration of success in the advancement of Nigerian made goods.
“Our focus is in the finishing, packaging of the products and efforts to raise the quality of goods made in Aba and by extension goods made in Nigeria,’’ he said.
While commending the Federal Government for emphasising the need to buy goods made locally, Abaribe said that the country needed to look inwards to grow its economy.
“Because of emphasis on making sure that we buy locally made goods, effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the general economic down turn, we have no options now than to look inwards.
“It is important to find a way of ensuring that we do not spend our scarce foreign exchange in importing products that we can make in this country,’’ the lawmaker stressed.
More than 90 exhibitors are participating in the trade fair.