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STATEMENT BY THE RT HON PRIME MINISTER,

DR B.SIBUSISO DLAMINI

AT THE OFFICIAL CLOSING OF THE SWAZILAND INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR 2017

AT MAVUSO INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE, MANZINI

MONDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2017

Honourable Ministers

Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps

Regional Administrator

Mayor of Manzini;

Honourable Members of both Houses of Parliament

Exhibitors and Sponsors of the Swaziland International Trade Fair

Management Committee of the Swaziland International Trade Fair

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you all today, and to perform the official closing of this year’s Swaziland International Trade Fair.  We are very grateful to His Majesty King Mswati III, and His Excellency Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia for having opened this, the 49th Swaziland International Trade Fair, under the theme “Unlocking Trade Opportunities for Economic Growth.”

It has been a very busy week for a large number of people, from organisers through to exhibitors, and when I see such a superb display of goods and services it is clear that this year’s International Trade Fair has met all expectations.  The quality of the stands, and the welcoming and informative style of exhibitors have been truly impressive.  Given the high standard of presentation, the least enviable task of this time is that of the judges, when having to select the best stand from so many deserving entries.  But they, and all exhibitors,     

 my congratulations and thanks.

I take this opportunity to add, to my word of welcome, an especially warm greeting to our foreign exhibitors.  We have enjoyed the participation of representatives of governments and private sectors from a number of SADC countries, namely Zambia, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and Tanzania.   We thank them for making the effort to present their own goods and services.  Their presence not only displays, to our own business sector, what can be sourced from outside the country that will enhance the quality of our outputs, but it also exposes those visitors to what we, in Swaziland, have to offer.  It also strengthens the firm bonds that already exist between us.  I trust they will, when back home, transmit in great detail what we ourselves have exhibited at this Trade Fair.

His Majesty’s Government takes the International Trade Show very seriously.  Our Head of State, King Mswati III, himself has shown a very close interest in this annual event.  It is not only a source of pride to see Swaziland – both public and private sectors - on display in this manner, but it is an illustration of the importance to Government of the activity that is trade.  Government, therefore, attaches a high priority to the quality of our public service, as a major determinant in increased investment, big and small, which, together with increased trade from existing Swazi enterprises, grows our economy. 

It is important to remind all our visitors of our brand:  Swaziland – Africa’s New Promise.  That is not an empty pledge.  We have worked tirelessly since the launch of that brand, to implement the targets of our Investor Road Map.  We strive to make our business environment of a standard that is unmatched.  I urge our visitors, as well as domestic enterprises, to examine carefully the extent to which Government has committed itself to providing a first class service to the business sector, and has recently submitted to Parliament draft legislation that provides unbeatable tax concessions in two special enterprise zones.  I hope that the exhibition stands of Government Ministries, and other public sector agencies, provide clear confirmation of the commitment to serve the business community to an exemplary standard.

It is easily assumed that this elevated quality of service is directed solely at foreign direct investment (FDI).  Well, that is certainly very important and very welcome.  But the enhancement of our business environment is equally targeted to small, medium and micro-scale enterprise (SMMEs).  I do hope that those attending the Trade Fair, and actually, or potentially, operating in the SMME sector will find the exhibits helpful and informative, whether in terms of business opportunities or general service.  It is especially exciting for the SMMEs exhibiting this year that the “Win-a-Car” Competition has been enhanced by the inclusion of second and third cash prizes of E40,000 and E20,000 respectively.

The annual International Trade Fair continues to grow.  We are seeing increasing numbers of exhibitors and visitors.  This year, the number of exhibitors has increased to 275, both from the public and private sectors.  That makes for a very busy exhibition.  The number of handcrafters has risen to 61 this year.  That is especially encouraging because it is a product in which we have considerable artistic and technical strength, and one that has given us a comparative advantage in the world market.  It is essential that this be matched by an increased exposure of our handcraft products to that market.  And we have had around 100 vendors and other traders providing services throughout the week.

Indeed, there has been something for everyone.  It is hardly surprising that the Trade Fair has attracted visitors – adults and children - from all over the country.  There has been a great deal of interaction between visitors and exhibitors, and the children have had fun with the numerous games and entertainment activities.

Today we are also awarding certificates and trophies of excellence to those who have done well within different categories at this year’s Trade Fair.  I do extend my warmest congratulations to those who have emerged winners from what is an extremely respectable group of runners-up.

Finally, may I thank all our sponsors for providing the necessary funding for the Swaziland International Trade Fair, 2017.  I do hope that the generous and well-invested support can also be extended to future years.

It is now my honour on behalf of His Majesty’s Government to declare the 2017 Swaziland International Trade Fair officially closed.

Thank you.

 

 

 

The Prime Minister Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini says Swaziland is determined to make her business environment reach levels that are unmatched through the provision of a first class service to the business sector.

As a result, Government recently submitted to Parliament draft legislation that provides unbeatable tax concessions in two special enterprise zones.

The Prime Minister was speaking when closing the International Trade Fair 2017 at the Mavuso Trade and Exhibition Centre in Manzini.

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