The Managing Director of Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Alhaji Abba Bello, yesterday said other seaports in Nigeria must be operational before there could be an end to the perennial gridlock on port access road.
According to him, Nigeria needs more functional ports to facilitate the export and import of goods, ease the Apapa gridlock, and also expand economic growth and development in other parts of the country.
Speaking during the maiden loading of a Chattered 7,000 Metric Tones Capacity vessel with cocoa from Calabar Port to the United States, Bello said the event is significant not only because it offers a solution to the traffic congestion which has characterized Apapa Port over the years but also because of the prospects of opening up the economy of the South-South region of the country towards improved contribution to international trade and development of the region.
“The attendant challenges have had serious implications for the business climate contrary to the objective of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that Nigeria ranks among the top one hundred countries of the world on ease of doing business by 2023.”
“This is even more so against the background of the expected increase in the volume of trade with the commencement of the Africa Free Trade Agreement, (AFCFTA)and the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government to increasingly diversify the economy and promote non-oil exports”.
“Having made significant progress, preparatory activities for the Sealink project have reached an advanced stage.
He frowned at the low business activities in the region even with the establishment of the first free trade zone which is located in Calabar.
“However, we have observed that the region has not really achieved its potentials in spite of the huge availability of non-oil commodities like cocoa, rubber, palm produce, cassava, and plantain as well as mineral products like limestone, titanium, ceramic, coal, and glass which can be developed for export”.
He said the bank has commenced the implementation of the State Export Development programme geared towards developing at least one exportable commodity per state under the zero Oil Plan of the Federal Government to and the sum of one billion naira has been earmarked per state in support of the initiative.
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