Over 200 exhibitors are expected to participate at the 5th edition of the Made in Aba Trade Fair in Abuja to showcase various Made in Nigeria products. This was disclosed during a joint press conference between the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) and Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe to herald the commencement of the annual trade fair in Abuja.Senator Abaribe, who represents Aba South in the Senate, said that this year's trade fair would be a celebration of success in the advancement of Nigerian made goods adding that their years of collaboration has been yielding positive results. According to him, the essence of the trade fair is to provide good platform for the artisans to deepened their market and improve the quality of the goods produced locally.
He said, "Today, the artisans; fashion designers, shoemakers, and various other manufacturers are not ashamed of stamping made in Aba in their products.
"Now you can’t tell the difference between Made in Aba products and the imported products. The quality has improved significantly and for some years now all my clothes, shoes are made in Aba including the suit I am wearing today."
Senator Abaribe noted that the concept has been well-received by Nigerians and its gaining more acceptance within the West African sub region as well as other parts of the continent.He recalled that through SMEDAN, the artisans have been able to improve their qualities and have been linked with off-takers from many parts of the country that buy off their goods from the point of production.” We are part of the revolutionary Nigeria through the promotion of locally made goods.The senator explained that the reason the trade fair is held in Abuja on a yearly basis was to showcase to the global community the quality of Nigeria's products.
Senator Abaribe further appealed to the Federal Government and its agencies especially the military and paramilitary agencies to procure their uniforms locally from Aba to improve the economic growth of the country and support government drive for job creation.
"There are about 1.5 million Nigerians in the uniform service in the country and every year there is procurement for uniforms, caps, boots belts etc. These are things we don't need to be importing anymore; they drain our foreign reserves, and render our local manufacturing firm’s redundant. They can be ordered locally. We don't want a situation where after budget, the contract are given to foreign firms when we can get them here in Aba at a cheaper cost."
Nigeria has everything within its border to carter for everything, all we have to do is to discover and capitalize on what we have.
In his remarks, the Director General of SMEDAN, Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda expressed satisfaction with the quality and standards of Made in Aba products assuring that the Agency would continue to support artisans in the country.
Dr. Radda who was represented by the Director, Enterprises Development and Promotion Department, Mr. Wale Fasanya said that SMEDAN has designed a number of programmes targeted at supporting artisans that produces Made in Aba products.
He said "there have been a number of engagements with the Aba artisans aimed at enhancing their skills to compete favorably with their counterpart in other climes. He assured that this year's trade fair will witness massive patronage considering the energy and resources invested to ensure the success of the fair."
The Director General disclosed that the Agency would consider sponsoring some artisans from Aba to foreign trade exhibitions, particularly China, if the economy of the country improves.
The 5th Made in Aba Trade fair is expected to be declared open by the Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki, Chairman of the event is Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Guest of Honour is Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture Abuja, while Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, Director General/CEO of SMEDAN is the chief host of the occasion.
The 5th Made in Aba Trade fair will be held at FCT-SDS, Exhibition Pavilion and Event Centre, Department of Arts and Culture, beside International Conference Centre, Opposite Radio House Area 10, Garki Abuja.