The 3rd edition of the Conference of Nigeria Trade Associations (CONiTA 2021) which has remained the largest gathering of diverse trade associations in Nigeria was held at the LCCI Conference and Exhibition Centre, Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday 19th May 202. The theme of the year’s conference was “Governance and Economic Prosperity in a Pandemic World”.

The conference which was conducted under strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, with minimal numbers of participants began with an opening address by Mr. Nelson Obine, the convener who is also the Chief Sustainability Advocate of People Planet and Profit Media. In his welcome speech, he re-echoed the theme of the conference which is ‘Governance and Economic Prosperity in a Pandemic World’ that it was born out of stern desire by a consortium of leaders to lend a voice in the drive for inclusive growth, decent work, shared prosperity and achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) 2030 in Nigeria. The dominating aim has not change which is ‘to identify modern ways of harnessing sustainable practices for diverse trade associations across sectors and industry; explore the potentials and opportunities inherent in our economy; establish enabling policies and recommendations for good governance, inclusive growth and shared prosperity amid COVID-19 pandemics. In a presentation, he said the spate of heinous events in Nigeria in recent time should be addressed, stressing that “prosperity cannot be reckoned in the atmosphere of threat and insecurity; and calls for stakeholders intervention if we must drive sustainable development above board. Nigeria has over 500 hundred trade associations, over 41.5 million MSME businesses operate in the country according to a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics and the SME Development Agency of Nigeria, these teeming numbers portends influential pedigree in the drive of good governance, inclusive growth and economic sustenance in all sectors of the country.”

Nelson stressed that Trade Associations and across all levels, individually and collectively where possible should open conversations with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other related agencies and invest in comprehensive preparedness and prevention programme.

In his submission he encouraged public and private institutions to embrace the United Nations eight principles of good governance to ensure sustainable leadership; that to address development challenges, insecurity, scarcity and inflation whether large or small, the world need to commit to cooperation and coordination both within and between countries; we must commit to working together for long term, working better and achieving predefined results.


“We recognize our corporate partners and sponsors; News Express, Lagos City Reporters, Economywatch and other media organizations, Guinness Nigeria, Nigeria Breweries, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for believing in our mission and throwing-in their in-kind support, we encourage you for open doors when our call for next edition CONiTA 2022 begins; rest assured we will live up to and surpass your expectations,” he said.

Participants took turn to make their presentations with provisions for question and answers across guest and speakers.

One of the keynote Speaker, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in a goodwill message represented by Susie Onwuka congratulated the Nigeria Trade Associations on the successful hosting of this conference, whose theme underscores the symbiotic relationship between stewardship and the economic well-being of the people. He stated that it is only good governance, both in public and private sectors of the economy that can guarantee sustainable economic development and prosperity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, in good times, and in difficult times, those in corporate governance and political leadership must strive to create the enabling environment for citizens to attain their greatest potentials.  

He affirmed that  the cardinal mandate of the FCCPC is to promote economic efficiency through the maintenance of competitive markets in Nigeria, protection of consumers’ rights and the promotion of their interest and welfare; in order to build a resilient economy for Nigeria in the pandemic world and ensure that the already precarious economic situation is not exploited by unscrupulous businesses, individuals or entities, the Commission undertakes activities to prevent unconscionable business practices with respect to basic safety and personal hygiene products.

In the goodwill message he said the Commission’s enabling law, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) 2018, encourages FCCPC to collaborate with trade associations, civil society, and industry groups, among others to develop professional ethics and standards aimed at enthroning best practices across board;“ I therefore extend a hand of fellowship to the Nigeria Trade Associations in working towards the sustainable economic development of the economy, and are optimistic that this conference will provide a veritable platform to share experiences, build the capacity of stakeholders and strategise towards promoting good governance and economic development in the country”.

Mr. Tony Peters, a management/financial consultant in his presentation, stressed that corporate governance is not strictly for multinationals, big private organizations and public companies. It is a key for start-ups, small and medium firms’ entrepreneurs' as it is an important foundation for the growth of every business. As a leader (Chairman, C.E.O & Managing Director), if you understand governance and its importance as the driver of the vision, 65% of the success of the business has been achieved, he said. Tony advised that new entrepreneurs‘ start-ups, small and medium business owners should seek for professional advice from business incubators or management professionals from time to time for guidance as we are coming out from the pandemic period and to as well survive in the current global space.

One of the Guest of Honour, Mr. Afolabi Adebayo Solebo, General Manager of the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA);  emphasised the need for industry players to develop and enforce quality standards designed to protect and safeguard the interest of consumers. He said the agency has striven to achieve this through regular public enlightenment with a vision to ensuring consumer satisfaction and value for money. He said it is only when the public has good health that you can run an economy successfully, hence the agency is beckoning on all stakeholders to key into the driving force of development under the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda of the Lagos State government instituted by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration. 

He said since its inception, the agency has received a total of 3,336 cases and out which 2,960 were resolved, 237 ongoing, 139 referred to other agencies and parastatals for action while 14 cases are in court. Highlighting the agency’s achievement, Solebo said: “In the last two years the agency has recovered more than N9 million from unscrupulous people doing all forms of unscrupulous business. “Since inception, the agency has also recovered a total sum of N134.2 million for people; for those who lodge their complains; about a total sum of N49 million as well has been recovered for customers in the last six months that I have been the General Manager of LASCOPA”.

While feeding questions from participants, he reiterated that “The most important of the department is education; it is only when the citizens are aware, that they even have right. Consumer has a right; that is why the agency has been carrying out public enlightenment on radio and TV stations.

“The only place you can go when your rights are being infringed upon is the Lagos State Consumer Right Protection Agency. One of the achievements of the agency is the continuous enlightenment of citizenry so that they don’t buy product that has deformation. “Mr. Governor has given total support to the agency and has zero tolerance to the right of consumers being wasted here and there,” he said.

The Conference of Nigeria Trade Associations held on Wednesday 19th May, 2021 at LCCI Conference and Exhibition Centre in Lagos came to a climax with an award ceremony in a consensus reached by the organizing Committee; CONiTA 2021. The theme of this year’s conference is Governance and Economic Prosperity in a Pandemic World.

Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment bagged an Award of Recognition respectively for outstanding dedication and commitment towards inclusive growth, shared prosperity and sustainable development.

Award of Recognition was received by Mrs. Susie Onwuka on behalf of its recipient Mr. Babatunde Irukera, the presentation was made by Mr. Omotoba Saheed, President of the Association of Embroidery Designers; while Mrs. J. O. Amida, President of the Lagos State Tailor and Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (LASTFADAN) presented to the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, the Award was received by Mr. Babawale Thompson-John on-behalf ofDr. Chukwuka Onyekwenathe Ministry.

The recipients in a show of appreciation commended the convener of the Event Mr. Nelson Obine and called on other institutions and individuals to join hands in the drive towards achieving sustainable development in Nigeria.

The Conference has held two editions since it started in year 2018 with theme “Harnessing the Power of Trade Associations for Good Governance, Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity”. The theme for 2019 was “Convergence of Informal Sector and Trade Associations for Sustainable Development”, both of them witnessed support and participation from diverse sectors and industry and becoming a voice in the drive for sustainable development.

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