Written by Ere-ebi AGEDAH

Exhibitors decry low patronage at Abuja trade fair

The just concluded Abuja international trade fair experienced low patronage with scanty human traffic.

Most of the exhibitors and traders were seen sitting in front of their stands waiting complained of low patronage and blamed the low turnout on the current economic crunch currently facing the country, lack of publicity by the organisers, and the location of the fair.

Mr Isaac Ende, a juice extractor exhibitor, described the 11th edition as the worst in the history of the fair, stating that sales was far below expectations

“By this time in the previous editions, I had recorded over 100 visitors at my stand, but as we speak I have not seen up to 30 since the fair opened.

“I paid N50,000 to rent space, while other exhibitors paid as much as N200,000 each, and I doubt we would be able to recover the cost,’’ Ende said.

Another exhibitor, Mrs Abimbola Ade, blamed the situation on the location of the trade fair complex, which is a few minutes drive from the Abuja City Centre.

Ade, a locally made fabrics and other fashion products exhibitor, alleged that the publicity for the fair was poor.

However, Mr. Barry Woods, a food spices exhibitor from Delta, commended the organisers for doing a great job with the fair.

“The Abuja International Trade Fair is 11 years old; it will be unfair to compare it to a fair of 30 years or 40 years, besides, Abuja is not a strong commercial city like Lagos or Onitsha, but even at that, the fair is not doing badly. I must commend the organisers for doing a great job, and I strongly believe they will get there soon,’’ Woods said.

Meanwhile, other participants expressed satisfaction with the security and logistics arrangement, including provision of amenities such as water, sanitation and electricity.

Reacting to the complaints, Ms Tonia Shoyele, the ACCI Director of Membership and Business Development, confirmed the low turnout of visitors.
Shoyele, attributed the low visitor turnout to the current economic downturn in the country.

“It is very true that visitor turnout at the fair is low. We all know what is happening in the economy right now. These days, people like to take many things into consideration before spending their money, and one of the results is what we are experiencing at this fair.’’

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