Nigerian traders with Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo
By Kingsley Okoye
Prof. Obiora Okonkwo of the University of Abuja has urged governments at all levels, especially Lagos State, to intensify support for traders, given their contributions to the growth of the economy.
Okonkwo made the call in Abuja on Thursday at a meeting with the new executives of Ndigboamaka Progressives Markets Association (NPMA).
NPMA is the umbrella body of Ibo Traders in Lagos , made up of 58 market groups across the state.
It has the mandate to facilitate trade for its members, improve volume of trade for further growth of the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general.
Okonkwo, said the call became necessary given the high volume of trading activities and turn out by the traders and the impact to the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general.
“This people who are representing a turn over of trillions in this our economy, as simple as they might look, they can not be taken for granted.
“This people here have millions of youths who are engaged over their mentorship in different markets in Lagos, they should be recognised, and that is going to be our objective.
“So they need all the support to add more to grow their business because the bigger their business becomes, the more trillions of turnover they are turning in, the more customs duty, the more taxes to the nation.
“A good number of them are moving from trading to manufacturing, to assembling and not Just buying and selling.
“The association is a very important group to the life, future and economy of the nation because these people consist of about 60 to 70 per cent of Lagos economy’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”
Okonkwo, who is a professor of Business at the University of Abuja Business School, said the group has worked out a way to create mutual working relationship and understanding with government.
” There is an improved relationship within my leadership; last year, there was a special event where they gave a special award to the Lagos governor based on association and collaboration on improved relationship.
“And the governor for the first time appointed a member of the association into the Lagos State Market Advisory Council.
“At that meeting, the governor received an open endorsement of the association for his second term in office.”
Okonkwo, who is the National Grand Patron of the association, commended the association for the transparent and peaceful conduct of election of the new executives .
He urged them to consolidate on the peace amongst members of the association.
“For the fact that they are organised and for the fact that they organised their election peacefully, is a manifestation of unity among them.
“And we shall continue to work for peace, and consolidate on the unity and understanding,
“They have been men of credibility and integrity, having successfully served in their various business, and that is what the society we have now needs and unfortunately it is a scarce commodity.
“I am committed to working with everyone of you in whatever markets with pride, with joy to the glory of God, to attain the objectives of these associations for the benefit of members.”
The new President of NPMA, Mr Chinedu Ukatu who is also a member of Lagos state Market Advisory Council, said the association was having a cordial relationship with the Lagos State Government.
According to him, the priority of the new executive is to intensify trade facilitation among members for the benefit of traders who consist of different races.
“What we are concerned is about facilitating trade for all traders in Lagos by uniting the traders, the markets on issues like multiple taxation, and untimately further promote welfare of traders by collaborating with government and other well meaningful stakeholders.”