Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade wants the state to be designated as an export corridor so as to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA).
Citing the state’s long Atlantic coastline and the huge industrial value chain made possible by his administration, Ayade believes the state deserves to be so designated.
Speaking at the State Executive Council Chamber of the governor’s office, Calabar at weekend during a presentation by the state chapter of the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, 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, start exporting our frozen chicken, start exporting our rice, and indeed start exporting all that we produce from our agro factories.”
He disclosed that exporting 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.
Continuing, the Cross River state number one citizen said: “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 on 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.”
Earlier, Cross River state Chairman of the association, James Alicha commended the governor’s industrialisation drive assuring that with 33 industries established by the Cross River state government under Ayade, the state will benefit immensely from non- oil earnings through AFCTA efforts.
“If we are to showcase these 33 industries alone, Cross River State will compete favourably with other states that are deriving their revenue from other businesses other than oil
“AFCTA is here to market the products from all His Excelllency’s factories”, Alicha stated.