Ambassador Mariam Katagum, Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment has called for the endorsement and deepened involvement of the Ministry of Aviation and its agencies in the forthcoming EnjoyNigeria Expo 2021.
The Minister made the call in Abuja during a courtesy visit by the Inter-Ministerial Planning Committee of EnjoyNigeria Expo 2021 to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The Expo, scheduled to hold from 6th to 12th of December is a private sector initiative, which enjoys the support of both the Federal Ministeries of Industry, Trade and Investment; and Information and culture.
It is designed to develop and promote Nigeria’s creative, entertainment, cultural and tourism industries, due to growing global admiration and demand for Nigerian products.
It aims at promoting and empowering the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the creative, entertainment, cultural and tourism industries in Nigeria generally, but with special emphasis on women and youth.
Katagum, a strong advocate of women and youth empowerment who was represented at the courtesy visit by the Director, Investment, of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olukemi Arodudu, described the project as a cultural fiesta, tied to investment and economic development.
The minister who happens to be the only female Minister in the two main sectors supporting the initiative and is therefore the face of the project, emphasised that beyond economic and cultural value of the expo, it would unite Nigerians and portray its positive image through its cultural value content.
While appealing for the full endorsement of the expo, she urged the Aviation Minister to encourage the active participation and support of the agencies and other stakeholders
within his sector, especially the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in the project.
“We urge you to take your rightful place in the planning and implementation of the project. As partners in the project, the aviation sector will enjoy full publicity pre, during and post event via radio, television, online and branding platforms,” Katagum noted.
The Convener, EnjoyNigeria Expo 2021, Mr Isa Sago explained that the expo came up because of the need to bridge the gap in terms of the creative and entertainment, cultural as well as tourism industry.
Sago said it was discovered that the MSMEs and Entrepreneurs in these sectors were did not have a strong a strong platform to showcase and promote their products locally and internationally.
“Through this platform, they can have access to capacity building to better their businesses, opportunities to showcase their products to both local and international markets, networking opportunities and security to take their businesses to next level.” He said.
“Women and youth are major players with economic significance in these industries. We initiated the project to put into cognisance the importance of youth and women participation for employment, revenue generation and job expansion”, he further explained.
Government support, according to the convener, is needed for enabling environment and incentives and the aviation sector is key for mobility, business networking and external or international patronage, hence the need for the participation of the sector in both planning and implementation of the project.
“The one week event will feature Exhibitions, Business and Investment Forum and Entertainment in different contents including Taste of Nigeria (food value chain), Sound of Nigeria (music), Colours of Nigeria (fashion), Images of Nigeria (photography) and Experience Nigeria (Theatre).
“These give the tourism sector opportunities to market and reposition Nigeria.
“The film industry under Images of Nigeria content is a multi-billion dollar industry which has given Nigeria global recognition,” he added.
The convener further disclosed that the post expo activities of the project would assist the MSMEs to formalise their businesses, while products which were not properly classified or certified would receive such assistance via relevant agencies under the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment.
He urged the aviation sector to identify with this possibility and strength for economic development.
In response , the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said the Ministry was running many projects which included Aerotropolis Policy to boost infrastructure and economy.
Hadi, represented by Mr Shehu Mohammad, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry noted that the laudable project was an avenue to sell ideas to prospective investors.
“In countries like India, Singapore or Dubai, their airports are surrounded by hotels, recreational centres and tourism industries, that is what we want to create in Nigeria in the four international Airports -: Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano.
“As a traveller the first thing that gives you the image of a country is right from the airport. It is a good idea to create synergy between aviation and the tourism industry,”.
He said the ministry had many projects to materialise soon while part of the projects was the new Nigerian National Carrier targeting to commence in 2022.
Hadi, who described the expo as an avenue for mutual benefit added that the ministry would further discuss on ways to buy-into the well articulated project to spur economic activities.