Trade fair: exhibitors express mixed feelings on ban on hawking

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Lagos  –  Some exhibitors at the ongoing Lagos international trade fair on Monday expressed mixed reactions to the ban on hawking at the fair ground.

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The exhibitors expressed their views in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Mr Chibuike Awuzie, the Brand Manager, Tiger Foods Ltd., said that exhibitors should be allowed to move freely with goods since they were registered participants at the fair.

“You may meet a visitor at a distance and convincing the person to visit your stand becomes a task.

“Some exhibitors might not have much visitors to their stands, while the presence of KAI officials arresting sales team with products inhibits our sales activity.

“I implore the chamber to review this policy so as to encourage sales promotion and mutually beneficial relationship with exhibitors.”

Alhaja Adenike Adeleke, a food supplement exhibitor, said that restricting hawking at the fair would inhibit trade promotion.

“The fair ground is big, difficult to cover by most visitors, but with our sales team moving around with products, we maximise exposure.”

Mrs Jumoke Epulemechi, the Sales Manager, Bicu & Sons Ltd., however, said that hawking should be discouraged at the fair.
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“Visitors should check in at exhibitors’ stands, interact and seek advice from them because most of the products exhibited are professional products.

“Hawking limits free flow of movement as the pathways would be blocked with various items displayed for sale just like in markets.”

Mr Tony Okwuba, The Chief Executive of Somac Nigeria Ltd., said that trade fair should be more about brand exposure and awareness than sales.

“Customers that could not patronise a product at the fair could get it at the market and supermarkets after the fair if you maximise the exposure platform of the fair.”

Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, the Chairman, Trade Promotion Board of LCCI, said that the “No Hawking” policy was stated clearly in the trade fair prospectus issued by the chamber.

“If they hawk, it will be a market. We tried to improve on that last year by having the KAI officials restrain hawkers at the fair ground.

“Exhibitors and visitors at past fair complained that they could hardly move around, it was rowdy just like a market set up and not what they came from overseas to see in Nigeria.

“The sales team can go around with leaflets, beckon visitors to their tents or marquee but carrying products around is not civilised.

“When some of them complained to us last year, we told them that it was an international trade fair and not a market.”

NAN reports that the fair, which started on Nov. 6, will end on Nov. 15. (NAN)

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