PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari and Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday reiterated that federal and state governments will continue to provide an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country.
They made the statement at the Opening Ceremony of the 36th edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair, with the theme: “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value” held at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos.
President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, said the Federal Government would continue to ensure that the atmosphere is right for businesses, especially manufacturing and export to thrive.
He said Nigeria’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), would be a great opportunity for Nigeria as the country’s international trade recorded a trade surplus of N3.2trillion between January and June this year.
Adebayo, who noted that the international trade records could be better with the collaboration of both the public and private sectors, described the Lagos International Trade Fair as a great opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s capacity to produce to international standards.
In his address, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was the Guest of Honour at the ceremony, restated his administration’s commitment to prioritising the growth and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to further drive the economic growth and development of the state.
He said his administration would continue to partner the Organised Private Sector to boost the economy of Lagos State, adding that his government would further create policies that would deliberately engender ease of doing business to enable the state to attract investments and allow businesses to thrive.
Sanwo-Olu outlined how his administration had been boosting MSMEs with soft loans from Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC), among others, urged business owners in Lagos to take advantage of the opportunities to grow their business and further boost the economy.
The governor, who described MSMEs as the heartbeat of any economy, said their development was critical, particularly in the face of the current harsh global uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine- Russian war.
He said: “On our part, we have continued to make giant strides by formulating and implementing policies, programmes and projects that have impacted and stimulated economic growth in the State. In our quest to build a globally competitive economy, especially through the MSMEs, we have considerably improved our Economic Policy Coordination and Implementation. We have encouraged Partnership Building between the Public and Private Sectors and we have prioritised labour to facilitate and promote investment in the development of a quality workforce for the various categories of enterprises in the State.
“We have also been working to lower the cost of doing business, improve ease of doing business, build skills, support innovation and strengthen the function of the labour market to improve capabilities, reduce conflict and foster harmonious industrial relations. Without a doubt, my administration has been proactive and intentional in its support and interventions to improve and reinvigorate MSMEs.”
In an opening address, the President of LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole said the Lagos International Trade Fair is one of the ways the Chamber has been boosting commerce and trade despite huge challenges.
Olawale-Cole, who commended the Lagos State Government for its continued support to grow small businesses, said the business community is looking forward to the outcome of the national trade policy currently being reviewed.