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04.03.2009 General News

Trade Fair Gets Facelift

By Daily Guide
Trade Fair Gets Facelift

Hannah Tetteh interacts with an exhibitor THE GHANA Trade Fair Centre (GTFC) would soon be transformed into an ultramodern centre, which would be more productive and efficient, after finding a strategic partner to help transform the fortunes of the company.

The facelift would among other things result in the creation of more job avenues that will help reduce the unemployment level, as well as increase the wealth of the country.

This was made known by Ms. Esther Ofori, Chief Executive of GTFC, at the opening of the 13th Ghana International Trade Fair which will run from 26th February to 16th March 2009, on the theme, “Enhancing Ghana's Trade Potentials.”

She said the purpose of the fair is to give “Ghanaian consumers an idea of where goods and services are available, so that even if they are not ready to buy during the fair, they know their needs exists in the Ghanaian market.”

She again added that since it is an International Fair, the focus is not just on made in Ghana goods, but goods from across the world.

She noted that even though the fair affords Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the opportunity to advertise their products, “they find it quite difficult to take part in these fairs because of the cost of space rentals.”

She therefore recommended to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to help pay for the space in both local and foreign exhibitions for these SMEs to enable them take full advantage of this promotional platform.

Ms. Ofori said the vision of the Centre is to develop it in such a way as to create the much espoused “one-stop shop” for trade and investment activities in Ghana; she added “Indeed, we aim at making the Centre best managed facilities centre in the ECOWAS Sub Region.”   

On the challenges that the Centre was facing, she indicated that the non payment of compensation for the Trade Fair lands since the 1960's, continues to be the main hindrance when engaging in strategic partnership discussions.

She added that enough background work has been done on the compensation issue she expressed the hope that the Ministry of Trade and Industry would finish it up to enable the company redevelop the area to bring vibrant economic activity to the centre.

However, she said the Centre has made some modest gains in the face of huge challenges and cash flow problems.

The addition of a considerable number of physical materials, she emphasized will enhance exhibitions and rental facilities.

Opening the fair, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Hanna Tetteh, said trade fairs do not only bring the business community and economic operators together, but they also create a common platform for the exchange of physical ideas of production, product adaptation, research and marketing strategies, product display and packaging.

She added that “these are essential and constitute the building blocks or strong foundation for economic operators that want to be competitive with their products, and they also provide participants and visitors to fairs with the basis to make informed decisions on choice of products.”

She noted that some criticisms about the international trade fair is that the focus of it has tended to be more on general fairs rather than specialized or sector-specific fairs.

She therefore called on the Management of the GTFC to plan and execute subsequently, programmes for specialized or sector-specific fairs in accordance with the international trend.

“While it is necessary at times for generalized fairs to be organized to meet the international requirements, there is the need for more focused and specialized fairs to highlight the economic potential of various sectors of the economy,” she emphasized.

She promised that Government would undertake a review of the report recommending commercialization of the centre, together with the proposed comprehensive master plan and the land problems, all with a view to establishing eventually, a state of the art centre that will adequately respond to international standards and requirements.

She assured the business community that Government is determined to put in place the right structures which will create a congenial atmosphere for the private sector to operate and grow their businesses.

By Esther Awuah