By Miriam Humbe
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that the Federal Government through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has trained two hundred women entrepreneurs on the shea butter value chain in the country.
The Minister disclosed this while declaring open the Bauchi State 1st National Trade and Exhibition Fair with the theme “ The New National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and Eventual Diversification of Nigeria’s Economy; the Role of Small and Medium Enterprises.
Amb. Katagum stated that, “The Nigerian Export Promotion Council is organizing a workshop in Ningi for 200 women entrepreneurs on the shea-butter value chain. The targeted beneficiaries will be trained on best practices in shea-nut picking and shea-butter processing. At the end of the training, the women organizations will receive the complete set of shea-butter processing equipment to continue with the project”.
The Minister, who said the theme of the Trade Fair was in line with the present administration’s policy aimed at putting the Nigerian economy on a path of sustained, inclusive and diversified growth as well as job creation, reaffirmed the commitment of President Buhari-led administration to provide both financial and technical assistance to Small and Medium Enterprises to ensure their products meet international standards.
She called on stakeholders in the sector to support government’s efforts at strengthening the capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises for job opportunities and ensure rural development.
She said, “The role of the business community, development partners, state governments and trade promotion activities like this cannot be over-emphasized. I therefore wish to use this medium to appeal to all stakeholders to draw inspiration and strategic direction from the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) to articulate their economic programmes, particularly in the development of the real sector in order torevitalize the economy and create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive”.
The Minister commended the Bauchi State Government for their support and creating an enabling environment the hosting of the 1st edition of the Fair.
Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed in his address said that his government has approved the constitution of a committee for the privatization of all the moribund industries in Bauchi State, adding that, the constitution of the committee was in recognition of the importance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state in line with his economic policies.
The Governor who was represented by his Deputy, Senator Baba Tela believed that the recommendations of the committee would go a long way in improving and revitalization of industries.
Bala Mohammed said the 1st National Trade and Exhibition fair would open window of cooperation between government, private sector and small scale entrepreneurs to interface, exchange ideas and promote synergy for national growth and development.
According to him, “The fair and exhibition are essentially an event meant to exhibit goods and services to potential buyers in addition to networking to private organizations to grow customer base for the development of business relationship. You will agree with me that the seemingly high level of carpentry works going on in both the pavilion and open spaces for participants to have the necessary exhibition stand to display their commodities is another means of livelihood to our local entrepreneurs and teeming unemployed youth. I am pleased to draw the attention of the organizers of this trade and exhibition fair and all the stakeholders to ensure its sustenance and start making proactive step towards reviving the traditional North East Joint Domestic Trade Fair in the near future”.
President, Bauchi State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BACCIMA), Alhaji Habu Jajere explained that the Trade Fair was organized as part of efforts to revive regional trade fair in the zone in addition to providing conducive environment for the federal government to educate stakeholders on the new National Economic Agenda and Strategies for diversification with particular emphasis on Small and Medium Enterprises.
Jajere expressed confidence that the opportunity provided by the Trade Fair would transcend beyond the boundaries of buying, selling and exhibition to the pedestal of attracting the much needed foreign and domestic investment to the state, region and the nation in general.