By Olanrewaju Adesanya
The Lagos International Trade Fair Executive Director,Chief Mrs.Lucy Ajayi has given update on the reconcessioning of the trade fair stating that,she is on the same page with the Bureau of Public Enterprise and Feedback Infrastructure Services on the way forward and by December adverts will be on pages of newspaper.
Ajayi made the assertion during a parley,she held with the LITFC stakeholders forum and representative of other germane parties in the re-concessioning process,to give feedback on recent developments.
In her opening speech, Chief Mrs Lucy Ajayi the Executive Director of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex Management Board, saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a seamless operation of the complex while the process last,notes that the parley is necessary so as to aid the flow of information amongst the concerned parties.
She also intimated the stakeholders with update of the process,stating that the feedback consortium,transaction adviser is expected to give the way forward going by the information at his disposal, having access state of things and records of the LITFC management .
According to Chief Ajayi,after the revocation of the last contract coordinated by the Aulic limited,the decision of the NCP was that it should be reconcessioned after six month of the revocation.
She said,” I want to tell you that the re-concessioning is real because that is the NCP’s decision and it must hold.
We have a transaction adviser,Feedback Consortium appointed by the Federal government and they’ve been invited for this meeting to give us update of the process but with the meeting,I had with BPE the chairman of NCP is not too happy about the delay.
“However we are all on the same page and the re-concessioning process advert will come out before December,that is what BPE and I have concluded.
“Since they are at the final stage,the transaction adviser has done what he supposed to do, that is why we are calling this meeting of stakeholders ,the Minister,the DG of BPE,the MD of Feedback,the Management Board and the Chairman of my board to be at this meeting.
“So that we would all know the stage we are all in now,but what I want to categorically say is that,the re-concessioning must take place and that by December by his grace the advert would be out.
“Re-concessioning should bring more money to the government, because the last concessionaire didn’t do well with the complex and the government don’t have enough money now to start repairing.
“So bringing in a concessionaire will be to develop this place, it is going be a developmental re-concessioning and with that we could partner with them,the essence of and re-concessioning is to make more money.” Ajayi said.
The Executive Director however,noted that there exist inhibitions that did not allow her work to her full capacity in LITFC,since her assumption to office in November 2017.
“We have so many building structures that are not in use because they are in a deplorable state,the hundred room hotel is just there because we have to repair and bring it up to a five star hotel standard, which was the purpose for the hotel to be operational.
“There are ten halls,an exhibition arena and the green areas that have just been recovered.
“What we are trying to do is during Easter and December,we just have this fair on the green areas and that is just it.
“I am not really happy functioning at full capacity and I am handicapped because I wouldn’t want to go into a long term contract with anybody and after the re-concessioning will take place.
“The International Trade fair has been off here for like four years,I am trying to woo them back but I have to put structures in place for them to come,you can see that we have started the rehabilitation of the 5km road,but outside is worse than inside.
“So we are just praying that if the road outside is being fixed,I think it would attract them.We have tried within the complex to rehabilitate some roads.
Representing the Chairman of the LITFC management board,Mela Audu Nunghe,Estate Surveyor and Valuer Mrs Olayinka Patunola-Ajayi who is also member of the board stated the progress report recorded since their inception, urging all present to cooperate for the upliftment of the place.
She also corroborated what the ED said,stressing that the public should expect a reformed, modern and more viable trade fair.
According to Patunola-Ajayi the reconcessioning will be highly beneficial to all parties,so their cooperation is needed.
“I will expect cooperation with what government is trying to do here as it would be a win win situation for everybody.”
She also touched on Federal government’s stance on border closure,urging local manufacturers to up their games and make necessary decisions to improve their capabilities while closure subsists.
“I would say the closure has helped because prior to now government hardly get duties on goods coming into the country,meanwhile most of these goods are also produced in Nigeria by our local manufacturers,who makes little or nothing due to the ones coming through our landborders.
“Our local manufacturers are not making money and so for me,I expect all of them to up their games and be able to make more money and boost our economy.
“I support border closure 100 percent,so that our own manufacturers can be able to make money and retool our economy”.Patunola-Ajayi said.
The stakeholders expressed their dissatisfaction over the reluctance of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE),Feedback Infrastructure Services other concerned parties to come out boldly on what model of re-concessioning they are embarking on;either wholesome,partly or none at all.
They made their take known at a parley scheduled by BPE and Feedback Consortium, to bring other stakeholders up to speed about how far they have gone with the re-concessioning process.
The stakeholders were clearly taken aback by the refusal of the said party to honour the meeting they called,stating that many of them had to cancel their business trips just to be there.
Some of the LITFC stakeholders forum leaders however expressed their detest for the absence of the main conveners of the meeting,(BPE and Feedback consortium) noting that government can be better guided by them when they have ample information,having met with the stakeholders.
Dr. Jude Okeke,former stakeholders forum chairman noted that having developed 90 per cent of the Complex through individually sourced funds and with leases legally sourced spanning 99 years,the Federal government should encourage them by giving them right of first refusal on the remaining unleased portions in the complex.
“Concession of enterprises in Nigeria are like Mafias,let them tell us in black and white what they are concessioning.Government policies are always deceitful and until we get feedback from BPE,NCP and Ministry then we can know the direction they going.
“BPE said they are concessing the unleased area but during the concessioning they did another thing. Let them come out clear,to avoid confusion.
“Many here have leases subsisting for 20 years and even more already so what is concession? What is lease agreement?
“The lease are concessioning and we have been managing the place very well,we have uplifted the place,so even if they are going ahead with the concessioning,they should give us right of first refusal.
Chief Tony Obi President Balogun Business Association BBA also corroborated the stance of the former speaker,noting that though they are in support of government as regards policies but things should be properly done.
Alhaji Issa Akanbi,President Tyre Business Association,African Tyre Village TFC, also supported the stance of the forum’s leadership,but noted the negative impact the border closure has on their businesses.
“As businessmen in this complex,it is affecting us,negatively because this road here is ECOWAS road and we have customers even outside Nigeria,they cannot come in now and even going there is becoming a problem,government should hasten fixing of the road to complement what our ED is doing within the complex,by fixing a 5km road here.”
It would be recalled that since 2017 when the Federal government took possession of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex from the former concessionaire,Aulic Nigeria Limited and mooted the reconcessing idea,certain forces have delayed the timely conclusion of the process,which ordinarily was meant to last for six months.
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