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Why Exhibitors regretted participating in Ghana Trade Fair and Exhibition

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EXHIBITORS at the just-ended 23rd Ghana International Trade Fair (GITF) say they made losses from their sales due to what they described as the “outrageous prices of the stands, poor publicity of the Fair which resulted in low patronage of our wares among other challenges.”

Business Finder’s visits to the Fair revealed disappointment on the faces of exhibitors both within and without Pavilions A and B.

Outrageous fees charged for stands

Some foreign exhibitors, mostly from Gambia and other African countries lamented the increase in price of the stands from $500 in 2018 to $650, a development they said was a disincentive to their continuous participation in Ghanaian Trade Fairs.

Ghanaian exhibitors were asked to pay GH₵2,500 per stand up from

Poor infrastructure makes Fair unattractive

Exhibitors were unhappy about the old infrastructure which housed them and their wares. They complained of leakages up the roofs of the pavilions and called upon the authorities to deal with the challenges.
“The roof above us leaks and when it rains our materials are soaked with water; we cannot sell wet materials,” one foreign exhibitor from Gambia told this reporter.

Those who were located outside the Pavilions were at the mercy of the weather.
“The rains did not spare us at all; we arrived on Thursday morning and  stood for hours without canopies or tables ; we had to go borrow tables and chairs from other exhibitors., ” Ms Brown  lamented.

“We regret coming”

One week after the Fair commenced, Madam Ruth Brown who deals in novels, handicrafts and cosmetics and told this reporter she had barely made a GH₵100 from her sales.

She had been made to pay GH₵700 for her stand located outside the pavilions, away from where she said was likely to attract visitors to the Fair.

“I’m disappointed; I keep telling people I’m disappointed because apart from the money I paid for the stand, every day I have to bear the cost of my transportation in and out of here and people are not even coming to our stand,” she said.

Ms Brown vowed not to return next year if the situation remains the same.

“Next year I’ll come if it’s well advertised; otherwise it will be a total waste of time and resources;
Patronage has been very low and bad; we hardly got people buying any of our wares; it was on the 6th March that a few people stopped by but most of them were just passing through

Organised by the Ghana Trade Fair Centre (GTFC), the Fair provides a platform for businesses, both domestic and foreign to network and promote their goods and services.

The 12-day Fair, which commenced on February 28, 2019 was attended by 10,000 participants and more than 600 exhibitors.

The Fair, held on the theme: “Made in Ghana, Globally Accepted”, was organised by the GTFC in partnership with local and international businesses to bring a fresh face to the perennial exhibition.
GTFC okays Fair
Chief Executive Officer of the GTFC, Dr Agnes Adu, noted that the Centre had achieved its expectations and objectives at the end of the Fair, adding that, it hoped the Fair would open up many avenues for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises to develop.
As part of the Centre’s initiatives to make the Fair a memorable and profitable one, it had introduced modern marketing technologies for exhibitors to access e–commerce and online platforms to promote and sell their goods and services online.
It also gave local producers the opportunity to introduce their products to both local and international consumers, she said.
“I will urge all to support our quest not only for industrialisation but for Ghana to become a globally accepted nation with exports and for reduction of our dependency on imports,” she stated.
Dr Adu said the responses from the exhibitors were positive and therefore, preparation for the 2020 International Fair was underway.
“The reason our focus is on SMEs and will continue to be on SMEs is because they are the group that needs the most help. We don’t just invite SMEs, we invite multinational companies as well, and our hope is to introduce them to each other,” she added.
She explained that “Pavilion B” of the Centre was dedicated to hosting about 140 international companies, adding that, their focus was on SMEs as it aimed at tapping into the energies of the multinational companies to harness the potentials in the SMEs.
The focus of the Trade Fair Centre over the years, she said, had been to support the government’s agenda of promoting industrialisation by encouraging the citizenry to produce, sell and use its own products and services to generate revenue for the growth of the economy.
Dr Adu disclosed that the Centre had plans of hosting the Fair in other regions from next year, adding that, the 2016 International Fair which was held in Tamale was successful.
“We will do that but it will become more necessary as we try to revamp the entire site of the Trade Fair Centre. Therefore, once work starts, the fairs would definitely need to be held in other regions,” she said.

Source: Isaac Aidoo || The Finder

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