The governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, said he will propose in the 2023 state budget billed for presentation soon his strong desire to purchase sea-going merchant vessels.
Also stating this while receiving a delegation of the state chapter of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in his office in Calabar.
Responding to their presentation, the governor stressed that “this presentation enables us to decide on our merchant vessel as proposed in our budget so that we can start exporting our noodles, frozen chicken, our rice, and indeed start exporting all that we produce from our agro factories.”
Disclosing further, he said that exporting with the merchant vessels from the Calabar Port, products from Cross River’s industries will find a ready market in, at least, 15 countries in the West and Central African coast.
Stressing the need for the state to be designated as an export corridor due to its vast coastline so as to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA), Ayade stated
“We must take advantage of our industries and push our products beyond Cross River, beyond Nigeria and take advantage of the AFCTA to expand the horizon of our market. That is why we have the Ministry of Commerce, that is why we have the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to focus on how we can export.
“And I remain committed and dedicated to the need for Cross River State to have a very robust maritime trade activity to enable us develop our business environment where young men and women will migrate out of politics into business.”
Chairman of the association, James Alicha commended the governor’s industrialisation drive assuring that with 33 industries established by Ayade’s administration, the state will benefit immensely from non- oil earnings through AFCTA efforts.