- Traders Oppose Planned Concession of Trade Fair Complex
Trade groups operating around the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex have objected to fresh plans by the government to concession the complex to new operators.
The National Council on Privatisation had in September approved the revocation of the concession of the trade fair complex which was given to Aulic Nigeria Limited in 2008.
The trade groups spoke on Tuesday in Lagos under the platform of the Forum of International Trade Fair Complex comprising Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association, Balogun Business Association/International Centre for Commerce, Association of Progressive Traders of Nigeria, Call Park Ventures Limited, C-Tempo International Limited, Mandillas International Trade Centre/Mandillas United Traders Association of Nigeria, Associiation of Nigeria Tyre Marketers, Lagos International Trade Fair Plaza Owners Association, Tools and Hardware Dealers Association.
They said they ought to be consulted since they already held the lease on 75 per cent of the complex for 50 years since 2004 and were paying their fees promptly every year.
The President, ASPMDA, Mr Daniel Offorkansi, while addressing journalists in ASPMDA, said the stakeholders leased the complex when it was a mere forest and had spent trillions of naira developing it.
He said the complex currently house many industries that employed over 75,000 people.
Offorkansi said even if the government wanted to concession the remaining 25 per cent undeveloped land, the stakeholders who were already operating there ought to have been given the choice of first refusal instead of giving it to a total stranger who had no idea about the operations of the complex.
He said, “We hereby state that the stakeholders who have invested so much in the complex up till present are being marginalised and short-changed. This apathy did not start today. The same thing played out in the days of the first concession. The stakeholders and indeed the entire members of the individual associations inexplicably suffered from the Federal Government’s policy summersault.
“We only heaved a sigh of relief when the current Executive Director of the Lagos International Trade Fair Management Board took over.
“The stakeholders cannot continue to keep quiet in the face of obvious threat to our investments and business goodwill. Having been exposed once to an unsavoury experience from a direct consequence of the concession, we demand a fair treatment at this material time and government should bear in mind the attendant impact of the concession on our business goodwill, both locally and globally.
“We are using this medium to state that about 75 per cent of the complex had already been leased out, fully developed and occupied by various interest groups now collectively referred to as the stakeholders, which lease agreements are still valid and subsisting.”
He added that the present occupants should be given first option of refusal with regards to the concessioning of the remaining 25 per cent of the complex.