The 22nd Ghana International Trade Fair and Exhibition has opened in Accra with about 600 exhibitors displaying various goods and services.

According to the Ghana Trade Fair Company, this year’s event is geared towards creating a common platform for potential investors and businesses to dialogue on ways to benefit from the government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ programme.

The theme for the event, ‘Industrializing Ghana, Creating Jobs’ is part of measures by management to inculcate the spirit of industrialization in Ghanaian youth.

Chief Executive of the company, Dr. Agnes Adu noted that the motive behind the theme for this year is to help move the government’s agenda of ‘creating jobs through industrialization’ forward.

In an exclusive interview with JoyBusiness, she disclosed that management has asked ECG to disconnect tenants on the fairgrounds from its main electricity meter.

This follows challenges by the company in recouping debts owed by the various companies and clients operating at the Centre.

Dr Adu noted that this has been a smart move to reduce the burden of power tariffs on the company and to ensure that there is constant power supply to the centre.

$1 billion for facelift

In an earlier interview with JoyBusiness, Dr Adu said the Centre needs about $1billion in order to give it the required facelift to meet international status.

She said, “Obviously, that can’t come from one pocket and so the model that we’ve adopted that it will come from multiple developers and multi-angles is really the way to go.”

Dr Adu said, “In the past, what I think the previous administrations have failed to pull this project off is in the past they put their entire project under one umbrella say you go source for the money and then bring it to build the facility; that is impractical no one company can raise that caliber of money.”

She said, “So we are trying not to repeat those type of models we’ve proven doesn’t work.”

Rebuilding

The next level, she said, would entail rebuilding the facility into an international standard for the company to regain its past glory.

She added that the rebuilding of the facility was to help make the centre a trade hub in the West African sub-region and the preferred trading destination for the country’s global partners.

“So the facility, as it exists currently, cannot hold the type of international fairs that we are mandated to do because the rooms are small, and most parts of the facility have broken down, hence the need for a facelift,” she told Daily Graphic in an interview.

“I would like to use the centre to industrialise, foster partnership and help create jobs for the teeming youth in the country,” she said.

Changing the fortune 

Dr Adu, who took office in the second half of last year, said in the interim the company was embarking on aggressive measures to improve the fortunes of the company.

“We met employee salary arrears of about 18 months when we took office last year, but we are gradually putting measures in place to change that entirely,” she said.

Speaking with Journalists after the Launch, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah said the government is still looking out for an innovative way to transform the one’s vibrant city.

The Ghana Trade Fair Centre is expected to be shut down in March 2018 after the 22nd Ghana International Trade Fair.