By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has conceived the idea of building an aerotropolis in the country’s airports which will showcase Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and tourism potential while boosting businesses and investment.
This was made when the convener of the EnjoyNigeria Expo 2021, Mr Isa Yusuf Sago, paid a visit to the ministry of aviation to seek collaboration ahead of the exposition.
The Minister, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the ministry had introduced and collaborated on many programmes to showcase Nigeria’s rich cultural and tourism heritage and potential.
Mr Sirika, represented by Mr Shehu Mohammad, who pledged his cooperation and support to the success of the event, said one of the programmes introduced was aerotropolis, which means “eco-city.”
Explaining further about the concept of aerotropolis, he said: “If you go India, Singapore, Dubai, or Qatar, their airports are surrounded with international hotels, recreational centres, tourism industry.
“This is what we want to establish in the international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt and Kano.”
On his part, the convener, EnjoyNigeria Expo 2021, Mr Sago, said the trade and cultural exhibition being organised by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) is designed to benefit the nation’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector.
He said the international exhibition would go a long way to showcase Nigerian products and entry to the world.
He explained that MSMEs operators and entrepreneurs in the country have not been given enough platform to showcase their products both locally and internationally, hence there was an urgent need to bridge the existing gap.
As part of efforts to boost the activities of MSMEs operators and Entrepreneurs, he said, they would be trained on best business practices as well as get support and networking from other big-time business operators and investors during the Expo.
“We are here to help businesses to grow. Ours is a calling to help Nigeria.
“We had identified these gaps and we must close them for the benefit of our people and Nigeria.”
He underscored the need to promote Nigeria’s creative, entertainment, cultural and tourism industries, adding that these sectors of the economy are multi-billion dollar industries that should be explored for employment creation and revenue generation.
Speaking further, the convener pointed out that food, fashion, music, creative, art and culture, creative performance and tourism sector would feature during the week-long event that starts on December 6-12, 2021, in Abuja.
He, therefore, called on the government to create an enabling environment for SMEs to thrive, adding that government needs to look inward and empower the SMEs operators and entrepreneurs in the country.
Mr Sago further revealed that already the Federal Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development, Information and Culture; Youth and Sports have thrown their weight behind the Expo.
Therefore, he sought support and collaboration with the Ministry of Aviation in the facilitation of the movement of prospective investors during the programme.
Also speaking, the Director of Investment in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Funke Ajayi, said the forthcoming Expo would help to unite Nigeria, as many SMEs operators and Entrepreneurs from across the length and breadth of the country would participate actively and network among themselves during the expo.