Kitgum district to improve trade shows

By Martha John Savio

Kitgum, Uganda

Officials in Kitgum district gear towards refining trade shows in order to harmonize trade, and develop the commercial potential in the forthcoming exhibitions in the district.

In an interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Monday yesterday, the Commercial officer of Kitgum District, Alex Opira said, unlike the previous years, this year’s trade exhibition will see much improvement.

“The previous shows organized here in Kitgum had not been carried out with specific themes and guidance. That’s why a lot of misconducts like robbery, rape and killings during the trade shows happened, simply because the show mainly deals with bars and night clubs which made the trade show to lose its meaning,” he said.

“But in the forthcoming trade show, we will make sure that all commercial stakeholders harmonize their programs with the producers of various products in Kitgum district. This will allow us to sit and agree on a clear plan and guidelines with a sound theme,” Alex explained.

He noted the coordination with all partners will help them come up with programs that will imply the real meaning of what a trade show is.

“We will deliberate on how we can come up and execute programs such as: innovations like handcraft product and skills training, practical demonstration of other life skills, exhibition of agricultural inputs and products etc. So, that the youth and different groups of people will be exposed to skills and knowledge, and learn about good standard of living,” Opira expounded.

He acknowledged that his district’s trade exhibition had been the most disorganized compared to others because the Chambers of Trade do not involve the district authorities when organizing the event. According to him, this is because the shows benefit the Chamber more than the traders.

Kitgum District Vice Chairperson, Atim Kevin Joyce, echoed that if trade shows in Kitgum will often be carried out without guidance from the relevant authorities, then it has to be stopped.

She said the time frame is not favorable for such an event – considering that students are preparing to go back to school.

“The trade shows are always carried out in January rather than during the festive seasons. The locations of the shows are not strategic since it is at the center of the town. It causes a lot of insecurities and noise at night hours to the residents,” Atim observed.

A mother of seven who wished to speak on condition of anonymity said she had been to various trade shows in different towns in Uganda, but the one of Kitgum is really hurting. She said it is exposing the youth to negative aspects of life since it is only carried during night hours than during day time.

She urged the district authority to look into the matter in the next trade exhibitions.

“Even youth from respectful families get drawn in to this street life style. They end up destroying their future and end up disturbing the peaceful coexistence of the residence,” she begrudged.

She called on the youth to be responsible people who know their purpose in life; especially those who are still at school, so as not to ruin their lives with early and unwanted pregnancy, and unhealthy life style like indulging in unprotected sexual relations that make them contact deadly diseases.

The Residence Commissioner was nowhere to be found for comments and registered criminal offense resulting from the trade fairs.

Kitgum district trade fairs attract thousands of traders from East Africa and beyond. The traders usually come in the month of January due to school reopening to exhibit their products.

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