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General News Tue, 29 Feb 2000

Priority of fair misplaced - local exhibitors

Accra, Feb. 29, GNA - A number of local exhibitors at the Seventh Ghana International Trade Fair 2000 say its priority has been misplaced and called on the organisers to put it back on course.

In separate interviews with the GNA on Wednesday, the exhibitors, mainly located in Pavilion A, set aside for made in Ghana goods, said they expected measures to be put in place by the Ghana Trade Fair Company (GTFC) to promote fruitful business contacts instead of allowing it to be like a sales centre.

They said there is a difference between a trade fair and Grand Sales whose objective is to promote the selling of goods. Mr Hakeem Balogun, Marketing Manager of Antelope Company Limited (ACL), local manufacturers of Antelope and Anansi mosquito coils, said he has been disappointed at all fairs he has attended in Ghana since 1997.

He added that this year's fair has not lived up to its name "the millennium fair." Mr Balogun said the aim of his company's participation in the fair was not to sell products, but to create contacts with sub-regional and other foreign companies with the view to expanding the export base of the company.

Mr Balogun said the organisers assured exhibitors that three business days - February 28 to Wednesday March one - would be set aside, where the gates would be closed to the general public to allow strict business interactions. He observed that on the first business day, school children and other ordinary people were allowed unto the fair grounds while the organisers have done nothing to promote the business days.

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"We expected the organisers to have gone a step further to organise a forum during the three business days for local and foreign business organisations, especially those of us who are not selling, to brief each other on our various business interests with the view to creating partnerships."

Mr Balogun said as the fair progresses, his fears are getting worse, adding "we are told that the few days to the end of the fair will be dedicated to fun fair and pure entertainment."

"Those who are selling their products are likely to benefit from the numerous people who would come in during the fun fair, but those of us who are for business contacts would simply lose."

Mr Jakob Staubli, Technical and Production Manager of Mahogany Wood Processing and Construction Limited (MWPCL), suggested that all companies dealing in similar items should have been put together under one roof.

Such an arrangement would not only have promoted sharing of ideas among like companies, but would also have boosted sales and business contacts since visitors would easily locate particular stands and products.

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Mr Staubli described the fair as very disorganised, saying this accounts for why some notable business organisations which have ever participated in local and foreign fairs, refused to participate in the millennium fair.

Mr Eugene J. Dwebeng, Sales assistant at the Darko Farms, shared the same sentiments as Mr Staubli and called on organisers to review their first-come-first-served strategy of allocating stands and use a more innovative strategy to ensure business promotion.

Mr Bright Dokyi-Nyarko of the Ghana Cylinder Company Limited said his stand is too far away from companies promoting similar products. Ms Akosua Prempeh of Akuaba Furniture called on the organisers to intensify the publicity to boost patronage of the fair.

Source: GNA