BusinessDay

SMEs in event planning seek industry regulation

Stakeholders in the event decor and planning sector have urged the federal government to address issues of multiple taxations and regulate activities in the industry to support small businesses to thrive and compete.

The stakeholders spoke at the annual decorators and planners conference themed, ‘Flowerxprops 3’ organised by the School of Décor – The Propsplace in Lagos recently.

Damilola Osasuye, a decorator and the creative director, The Propsplace, said the Nigerian event and planning industry would compete globally if given the right attention by the government at all levels.

‘’I wish the government can see the industry as what it is; a very big and creative industry that has taken Nigeria out to the diaspora, and therefore, help to regulate a lot of things,” she said.

‘’It is good to pay taxes, but, for instance, the venue owners are over-taxed, so it is affecting us, the decorators, they ask us for various charges.”

‘’Also, we do not have industries that can create some of the products that we import to reduce the cost of running a business in the country. So, if the government sees the industry as big as it is, maybe, allow investors from abroad to start doing things that we are doing.”

She cited an example of how China was able to grow its decoration industry by driving investments into the sector.

She also urged the government to provide an enabling environment by bridging the huge infrastructural gaps limiting production.

‘’What the government can do is to provide an enabling environment where people, who want to invest, can come here and build their industries; so that we do not have to import.”

Also, Nnanna Adim, creative director of Cinematics NG, said that conferences such as the flowerxprops were a plus for the country in terms of increasing the number of entrepreneurs and industries in the events space.

‘’This is a great way to get people to move a step ahead in the delivery so that they can deliver better events and designs, thereby, improving the quality of service that Nigerian event decorators deliver to their clients,” she said.

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In his remarks, Ali Bakhtiar, a Dubai-based designer and founder, Ali Bakhtiar said the industry has lots of potentials, given the vast human resources.

Bakhtiar said, however, that much needed to be done to bridge the gap in the industry to drive creativity and innovation.

Charles Nwonu, an events planner and executive director, Nwandos Signature Limited, said that local manufacturing of décor props (decoration items) would go a long way in improving the industry.

‘’We import so much and the value of what we get from our clients is not adequate to buy some of those props; local manufacturing of these items will help us to be able to execute our job, ‘’ he said.