Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, on Thursday, declared the South-West Local Governments Agricultural and Mineral Resources Trade Fair open, reiterating Osun’s commitment to industrial revolution.
The 12-day trade fair, promoted by the Osun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, OSUCCIMA, in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce and BTG Africa, will be on till Sunday, November 28.
Recall that Osun government, in September, announced plans to host a two-week South-West trade fair, aimed at showcasing the potentials of the state in agricultural and mineral resources, among other potentials.
This was founded on the resolve of the administration of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to anchor its economic diversification plans on agriculture, mining and tourism, as announced during Osun’s Economic and Investment Summit in 2019.
Also recall that the state, in September, hosted a three-day culture and tourism fair, which birthed the Adire Osun project.
Oyetola, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Olugboyega Alabi, described the trade fair as apt, adding that it was coming at an auspicious time when the federal government had instituted the Economic Transformation Agenda to pull the nation out of the unworkable monolithic, oil- dependent economy and deliver sustainable economic growth.
“It is therefore laudable that we have joined the Economic Transformation Agenda train of the Federal Government by putting up this Trade Fair to strategise, exploit and harness our potential in critical sectors of the economy. This is the obvious way out of the economic uncertainties. There is no doubt that we have the potential to boost our economy for the good of our people. What is left is to exploit technology to maximize our value addition efforts.
“It is indeed heart-warming that this Trade Fair is coming up again in the State after many years. With the hosting of this Fair, we are happy to break the jinx of over 17 years of inability to host a successful Fair. This is an indication that we are ready for exploits and we must resolve to make it regular and be strong on implementation for the sustainable development of our State and our region,” he said.
In describing expectations from the trade fair, Oyetola said it would promote accelerated development of commerce and industry, agriculture and agro-allied industry, while also helping to showcase made-in-Osun and made-in-South-West-States goods, indigenous services and technology.
He continued: “As we all know, Trade Fairs are veritable platforms for the advancement of individual, corporate and national ingenuity. This Trade Fair will no doubt help to showcase the economic potential of the Local Government Councils, particularly in the area of agriculture and mineral resources.
“In addition, the Trade Fair will, among other things, promote accelerated development of commerce and industry, agriculture and agro-allied industry; help showcase made-in-Osun and made-in-South-West-States goods, indigenous services and technology; promote interaction among manufacturers, marketers and consumers; attract investments from sister States; and encourage and expose Nigeria’s non-oil exportable commodities,” Oyetola added.
Oyetola also called on South-West states to look inwards by making the best of the Agricultural products and Mineral resources in their respective localities to generate revenue and particularly foreign exchange.
“This Fair, which is expected to have positive multiplier effect on the economy of the states in the South-West, is aimed at maximally harnessing the potential of each local government councils in the South-West and showcase such globally.
“The South-West states are basically agrarian. Thus, bringing all the local government councils in the West together to showcase their respective agricultural products and mineral resources will help bring the hidden treasures to the fore, shore up Internally-Generated Revenue and make the South-West a hub for agricultural products and minerals resources. By so doing, investors and prospective buyers will know where to get what and invariably the South-West will be a commercial focus parading exportable finished and semi-finished products.
“South West states must find ways to make their farm produce have value. It is the intention of Osun to leverage on the fair to build a foundation for the take-off of the Aggregation/Commodity Exchange Centres for our farm produce,” Oyetola added.
In his remark, the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Cooperatives and Empowerment, Dr. Bode Olaonipekun, said the trade fair was aimed at building a credible and sustainable commodity exchange arrangement in the state as part of efforts at revitalising the state’s commercial posture.
“Oyetola’s government is one that is established to break many jinx in the state. The free trade zone at Abere has been inactive for 16 years, but operations have begun there today. The international trade centre at Dagbolu had also been inactive for nine years until the intervention of Governor Oyetola. The jinx on suspension of trade fair in Osun has also been broken and broken forever. There’s need to mention these issues to put the record straight.
“What we are doing today is to lay the foundation for a robust commodity exchange platforms. Looking at the theme of this trade fair, the emphasis on digital economy as a tool for sustainable development is critical, and that is where we are driving towards. Our e-commerce platform is operational and we are putting our platform for commodity exchange to functional use during this trade fair. Where we are going is to have a sustainable commodity exchange in Osun.
“We are calling everyone across the world to come and see what we have in agricultural resources, solid mineral resources, so that producers, marketers and end-users will all form a value chain that is credible and sustainable,” Olaonipekun said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chief Bisi Makanjuola, the President of OSUCCIMA, lauded the Osun State government for its unflinching support for chamber movements in the state.
He added that it had demonstrated a very good understanding of private sector and had not only laboured to improve business environment but also look to ways to upgrade the various small and medium enterprises within the state.
Makanjuola, who harped on the revival of the Osun Chamber under the current administration, announced its resolve to host the trade fair annually.