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Calabar International Trade Fair announces NIPCpartnership, new dates for world's biggest Trade Fair

By Adiele Onyedikachi
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According to a statement signed by the company secretary, Andy Daze, the Chief Executive Officer of the Calabar International Trade Fair company, Gerald Konwea (pictured), announced a partnership with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), towards executing the annual 10,000-vendor trade exhibition. He said that the partnership stands to be one of the most important in over a dozen partnerships the company has secured since the MoU signing in March with the Cross River State Government.

Konwea explained that under the partnership, both organizations will:

• Encourage Nigerian entrepreneur participation at state level by reaching out to state governments to take advantage of the exhibition and the skills development programme.

• Facilitate international entrepreneur/vendor participation by reaching out to embassies operating in Nigeria with participation information.

• Facilitate investment in Nigeria through the CITF channel and make new business registrations fast and efficient especially through the NIPC’s One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC)

• Work together to produce a ‘doing business in Nigeria’ handbook that will benefit both local and foreign participants.

While lauding the management of NIPC for the speed at which the partnership was signed, Mr. Konwea enthused that governments - Federal and State - ought to take the CITF project serious by exploiting its economic gains.

He added that due to the magnitude of the project, the maiden edition has been moved to December 16, 2017 to give the team enough time to prepare, Konwea said: “When you are trying to host the world to one of the biggest events in its class, and you are doing it for the first time, you have to address and exhaust all if’s and maybe’s and that means entering into strategic partnerships that are incidental to the success of the whole project as there is no room for error.”

He used the opportunity to point out some already secured partnerships and hinted at working closely with the Nigerian Immigration Services to streamline the process of obtaining visas and permits for international vendors adding that vendor registration will be open anytime from now and there will be rewards for early registrants.

"We also want to make it easy for vendors when they arrive in Nigeria. We are in talks with 2 telecoms providers to partner on the supply of sim cards and telephones to our vendors but for the international attendees we want them to be able to connect as soon as they hit Murtala Mohammed or Nnamdi Azikiwe. We don't want our vendors stranded. We will finalize on that in a week or two.

On accommodation and transportation: “There is a shortage of rooms in Calabar to meet the projects demand and we have been exploring options to create more accommodation. We are talking to some companies that provide futuristic trailer park style accommodation but we haven't put pen to paper on any deals. Real estate developers have an opportunity in Calabar as this event will create a huge market for them in the city. We will announce these milestones as they come. Add air transport, road transport and freight assistance to that list.”

On Africa: “We have initiated communication with the Governments of a few African countries through our Country Representative Programme. We want to strategically engage the rest of Africa by aligning developmental agendas with the projects mission of developing local content and connecting the continent through trade. Anyone can be our country rep. Just send us an email to [email protected] and we will get in touch with you.