The recently concluded 37th edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair (LITR) faced a notable impact from the prevailing economic challenges, affecting both exhibitors and visitors. The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), organizers of the annual event, acknowledged the difficulties encountered by businesses across various sectors, aligning with this year’s fair theme, “Navigating Economic Challenges: Forging a Path to Prosperity.”
Addressing the theme, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, emphasized the resilience of the Nigerian business community in overcoming obstacles to existence, survival, and expansion.
As part of the 135th anniversary celebrations, organizers announced free access to the fairground for all visitors until the fair’s closure on Sunday, November 12th, 2023. This gesture aimed to alleviate the harsh economic reality faced by many attendees, encouraging them to take advantage of significant discounts for household items and Christmas needs.
However, the organizers’ efforts seemed to have limited resonance with exhibitors and visitors alike. Some vendors and attendees expressed dissatisfaction, attributing the low customer turnout and diminished purchasing power to the challenging economic conditions.
A hand-woven garments vendor from Ekiti State, Tijani Mojisola, voiced frustration over poor sales, linking it to the current state of the economy. She expressed concern about the lack of market activity and speculated that the economic situation in the country was a significant contributing factor.
Similarly, a representative of an e-commerce platform highlighted the impact of the economic downturn on small enterprises, noting an imbalance between vendors and buyers at the fair.
Kingsley Nwaogu, the CEO of Maikis Honey, lamented the economic challenges affecting sales, despite the fair being filled with quality products. He identified the pocket pinch experienced by consumers as a key hindrance to purchasing.
Representatives from manufacturing companies, such as Akingbade Olaide of Dekoolar Nigeria Ltd., acknowledged the economic challenges affecting sales and expressed optimism that normalizing conditions would lead to improved sales in the future.
While some participants were circumspect in their evaluation of the fair, speculating that better economic conditions would have yielded higher sales, others recognized the efforts made by individuals to make purchases despite the challenging economic climate. The weekend was anticipated to bring higher sales as visitors hoped for improved financial circumstances.
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