The Commissioner for Commerce, Mrs.RoseMary Archibong has stated that the industrial development agenda of the state government when fully realised and becomes operational will address the issues of outbound cargo for ships berthing in the state.
Mrs Archibong made the assertion , when she led the Ministry’s Management on a courtesy call to the NPA Port Manager, Mrs Marie Asein in calabar.
The Commerce Commissioner said with the factories attaining over ninety percent completion while others already operational, the state will soon be a net exporter in terms of outbound cargo from the numerous agricultural produce.
She explained that through the various investments, government was ready to partner NPA management to ensure import and export activities within the port are revived, adding that given the volume of produce anticipated, the state is in dire need of maximising the port to compliment the deep seaport under construction.
“Due to the wisdom of our Governor Sir Ben Ayade, who in a quest to decouple Cross River from over dependence on federal allocation embarked on massive industrialisation drive across the state has now opened up the state to international trade.”
“The kind of massive cargo we are envisaging in Calabar, requires all avenues of evacuation and notably the seaports. We realize that a lot of business is done at the maritime corridors that is why we have come here today to seek this partnership with the NPA.”
Mrs Archibong who spoke on the various component and nature of the industries, alluded to the fact that the Governor Sir Ben Ayade was from on set ready to change the narrative and make Cross River one of the industrialised states with less dependence on the federal government for allocation.
The Commerce boss expressed worries at the low business activities for a port that was once the cynosure of all, as a result of technicalities, hampering the efficiency of the Calabar port and hope that through promoting purposeful partnership, the Calabar port will regain her pride of place in the comity of ports in the country.
“Against all odds, Calabar port stands at a comparative advantage compared to other ports in the country in terms of proximity, ease of doing business, and operational modalities of the port. That is why we are hoping to take advantage by improving our efficiency and partnership so that Calabar port can witness inflow of business as it used to be”
Responding, the Port Manager Nigerian Port Authority Calabar, Mrs Marie Asein, corroborated that calabar port remains one of the viable ports and well positioned to have trade relations with all the west coast region of the African continent, adding that her management is working to revamp the port and enhance better business environment.
She stated that despite issues of distance to the port, (fairway buoy), draft and litigation, management was leaving no stone unturned to ensure the port is viable again, hence the reduction of its shipping tariff to encourage importers and exporters to patronize the calabar port and expressed her Management’s readiness to partner the state government to boost commerce in the port.