Eastern Ports Manager seeks collaboration with stakeholders in Calabar port

The management of Easter Ports, the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) has appealed to relevant stakeholders to partner with it to make the ports safe for business and commerce within its domain. Mr Joshua Asanga, the General Manager Eastern Ports, made the appeal in Calabar Friday during a working visit to facilities under his control and relevant stakeholders at the Calabar Port. According to him there is need for more utilisation of the Calabar port as a business hub for states on the North Eastern flank of Nigeria as well as countries bordering Nigeria in the North. Asanga his administration has taken proactive measures to assess the state of facilities and consult staff, terminal operators, relevant stakeholders and security agencies on safe use of Calabar port for business and commerce.

He expressed the desire that Calabar port should achieve its maximum potentials including the commencement of the dredging of the Calabar Channel for utilisation by larger sea-going vessels within his tenure. ``The initiative is basically to synergise and identify with all government agencies including terminal operators and other stakeholders that interact with the port in the course of their business. ``We cannot think in isolation. We have to work together and in concert, exchange information and of course, it is important to know the people you work with sometimes so that we work better. ``That is why we met with terminal operators, management of Calabar ports and staff, the Comptroller of Nigeria Customs Service, and the state Controller, Nigeria Immigration Service. ``We also interacted with coastal passenger service operators, the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Calabar Free Trade Zone’s management.

These are government agencies and agencies known to government. ``We do not want anything to go wrong that we could have avoided. We will collaborate; we will exchange information, show commitment and live up to our responsibilities. ``The massage we are taking back is that, these are days of working together; the more we work together we can achieve more and surmount challenges. It is a team work,’’ Asanga said. Earlier, the Calabar Port Manager, Mr Oluseyi Ogundele, said the port was established in 1969 when the Federal Government took over the inadequate facility of the privately ran port and vested it on the NPA.

He said that the port had since then evolved from a purpose-built general cargo port to a multi-purpose port delving into liquid bulk and refined petroleum cargo. ``This dynamism of the Calabar port system has consistently presented challenges in the area of operational and environmental adaptability,’’ Ogundele said. He said that the port had some protracted challenges including issues that arose from the transfer of passenger service operations to Shoreline terminal and rising debt profile to power and road traffic congestion. ``We have been able to resolve a number of these issues most critical to our operations. Passenger service is running smoothly at the shoreline terminal. Ports debt is comparatively the least in all the ports. ``Public power supply has been restored and only recently, the heavy traffic gridlock along the port access road has been contained among others’’ he said.

Ayade seeks strong ties with Germany

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has called for fruitful and robust collaboration between Cross River and the German – African consortium to support his administration’s key projects. Ayade who made this call when he received the President of German-African Consortium, Martins, paid him a visit in his Office at the Governor’s Office, Calabar, recently said that he will want a strong collaboration with Germany in the areas of technical/technology and financial support to realize the objective of his administration’s key projects such as the superhighway, the deep seaport and other projects being undertaken by the government. “Definitely the Germans are known for construction, for technology and for capacity.

It is against this background that I sort this partnership to establish a relationship to a point where your consortium provides structural, technical and financial support; financial support in terms of sourcing funds from International Donor agencies, International Financing agencies and with terms and conditions that are mutually benefiting to both parties, ad on the basis of technical direct assistance in construction, core engineering. We have two major Signature projects, the deep sea port of 14.5 meters… located close to the mouth of the open sea which is just about the key role at this point. Therefore the cost of construction, design, detail engineering design and the full sea port support equipment.

The cost at this point is very huge and very high if you want to carry the capacity of the state and this the gospel truth. In addition to the seaport we are constructing a six lane 260km super-highway evacuating from the seaport to Northern Nigeria. Cumulatively therefore we have a singles project which is perhaps the biggest project as we speak in Nigeria which is a deep sea port with a 260 kilometer evacuation corridor”. He explained that “the inspiration is there and we hope that with your presence, with your energy, with your exposure, with your contacts and with your wealth we can partner and take advantage of the great potentials and the location of Cross River state with over 323km of Atlantic Coast line. We can totally benefit from you, having us the biggest and deepest seaport in Nigeria. Once that is achieved other vessels can come directly into Calabar so we can bring in petroleum products we can export our agricultural produce out of here.

We have a company from the heart of Mexico investing in 2000 hectares of land for the production of banana requiring shipping out 200 containers of banana every day to Europe. Indeed he made a joke; he said every German takes one banana in a day. With the German population of 120 million persons, it means that 120 million banana are consumed in Germany every day with each German taking a banana a day. I’m happy you are Germans and you love bananas and Cross River state is the heaven for banana cultivation. We have special specie of banana that is very sweet so we are actually preparing this port for export to Germany in particular”.

Ayade stated that it is when one undertake a project beyond reason, you have a dream that is impossible to achieve as his leadership has saddled upon itself that one can elicit a new energy, but that when you prophesy the right thing, god will always manifest it, and that it is based on this premise that that he realized that the financial surgery of the state is to decoupled it from over-reliance of federation account by making the over 3.4 million Cross Riverians self-reliant, hence the search for technology, manpower and financing. “In all of this it is search for technology, it is search for manpower, for financing because we are committed to our signature projects.

At any time you take a project within your financial capacity, you have done nothing because anybody can do it when the money is there but when you take a project beyond reason, when you have a dream that is impossible to achieve that is when the excitement of the possibility of it begins to elicit a new energy and to me this is the celebration of the height of my life’s ambition.

Speaking earlier, the President, German-African Consortium, Martins, who has spent 27 years in Africa said that they source for new areas where they can find raw materials, and that their goal is to create equal opportunities for their host communities as part of their corporate social responsibility with the view to creating wealth among the citizenry. Mr. Martins revealed that they were working out plans for school exchange programme for the vulnerable to visit Germany and be integrated with the German culture and learn German language and at the same time German children will also be brought to learn our culture. “We are making plans for a well thought out school exchange programme that will allow the vulnerable in the country to visit Germany, be integrated with our culture and as well bring our own children here to also come and learn your culture and language.

In my 27 years in Africa, I can openly say that there are good people; you can find peace which is the panacea for investment. We are not here only for business but to build a future that will be beneficiary to all. Because I am passionate about children’s welfare and well being, I can give my life in ensuring that they live happily and get train in vocational and entrepreneurial skills to better their lots”, the German-African Consortium President concluded.

Obong of Calabar decries infrastructural deficits hindering CFTZ

Obong of CalabarThe Obong of Calabar and natural ruler of the Efiks His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V has expressed his concern over the federal infrastructural deficits in Cross River State which has contributed in hampering the smooth functioning of investments like the Calabar Free Trade Zone.

Speaking why granting audience to the management team of the Calabar Free Trade Zone led by Godwin Okimba Ekpe head of the Zone, he urge the federal government to pay attention to infrastructure within Cross River State which is hampering investments.

The natural king who was represented by Etubom Bassey Duke the Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council acknowledged that the state lacked the necessary infrastructure to boast activities at the CFTZ, in spite of the huge federal government investment. He noted that attracting investors and investments requires both the federal and the state government to put the necessary indices in place and not necessarily to go abroad to bring investors.

In his words, “investors are not Father Christmas when we provide the needed infrastructure that will attract investors rather than going abroad. Investors are not Father Christmas who go anywhere and dash people money,” he reiterated.

The Obong identified the infrastructural decay in Cross River state as the major factor militating against the speedy growth of the Calabar (CFTC) in the state appealed to the Federal government to take a second look at the infrastructural needs of the state noting that the only road linking Calabar and other parts of the country were in total disrepair. As he puts it “with good road, regular water and power supply, couple with assured security, investors will come and invest. Once the investors are okay with investment environment, they will come in with their money to invest and make their needed profit.

Speaking earlier head of the Calabar Free Trade Zone, Godwin. Okimba Ekpe said, he and his team were in the palace of the Obong to seek the natural rulers support and blessings to move the Zone forward. He commended the Efiks’ Monarch for the peaceful nature of the state that informed the choice of the Federal government to site the CFTZ in Calabar adding that it was on record that "Since the establishment of the zone up to date, no criminal activity has been recorded and such record can be attributed to the Obong and his Council.

Immigration repatriates 730 foreigners from Cross River State, 39 refused entry

Nigeria Immigration serviceThe Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service, Cross River State command Comptroller Funke Adeuyi has disclosed that between January of this year 2016 till date, over 730 and illegal immigrants have been repatriated from her command due to various offences.

Speaking from her office during an interaction with some newsmen, she decried the recent adoption of expatriates by yet to be known gun men and assured that safety of all foreigners residing in the state and country as a whole is important to the service and all other relevant agencies of government.

She said that 730 foreigners have been repatriated specifically between January and April and also within the same period, 39 foreigners’ application to come into the country through the state have been refused entry.

On activities of young foreign girls who come in and prostitute, she noted that such has tremendously reduced because of the interface of her office with their consulates. “Our role is to educate them and those that we need to send them away we send them away.” Some before they enter Nigeria, we turn them back and those that come in illegally are repatriated because they don’t valid travel document or resident permit. Anyone that is involved in criminal matters are referred to other agencies and the ones that are required to go to jail we send them to jail and after their jail term we send them out. Most those involved as illegal immigrants are ECOWAS nationals that are involved, she further disclosed.

The comptroller said their officers are across the length and breadth of the state and at border points and in the inter lands to ensure that nobody comes in illegally adding that because of the proactive nature of the new administration, they have had very low immigrant related offences this year.

She said they have embarked on constant public awareness, education, information sharing and tightening up of activities at the border end in line with the change mantra of present administration.

She debunked some allegations against her command officers saying, “Immigration officers do not aid illegal immigrants, it is not true. Our duty is that when we see them, we profile them. Before they come in we ensure that they have valid travel document. People that do not have valid travel document are denied entry. Between January and April this year, we have repatriated 730 illegal immigrants and we have refused 39 entry.”

Cross River: Empowerment exercise begins for 600 women and youths trained under CADP

Cross River: Empowerment exercise begins for 600 women and youths trained under CADP

Cross Sec of beneficiries of CADP in CRS Six hundred beneficiaries comprising women and youths trained under the World Bank/Federal Government assisted Commercial Agricultural Development Programme CADP in Cross River State are to be empowered to become entrepreneurs in the various trade.

The State coordinator of the Programme, Mr. Nyambi Inyang disclosed that the state governor, Senator Ben Ayade has already “graciously granted approval for the empowerment of all 600 beneficiaries under this programme”

Speaking at a workshop in Calabar, the state capital the state coordinator of the programme noted that “we are by this workshop initiating an interface between the service providers and beneficiaries in cocoa, oil palm, rice, poultry and aquaculture value chains. It is intended to facilitate the commencement of empowerment process for our 600 young and energetic Women and Youths who have been trained to become entrepreneurs with the capacity to be employers of labour, rather than job seekers.”

He revealed that “It is hoped that this intervention will go a long way to achieve its intended purpose as we galvanize resources to implement all investment plans of beneficiaries between now and May 31st 2017.”

Giving a brief history of the programme, the state coordinator said the Cross River CADP Women and Youth Empowerment Programme began with the training and empowerment of the first batch of 100 Women and Youths in the value chains of Oil palm, Rice, Aquaculture and Poultry. The current batch is the second and the third.

He added that, “As you aware, the Commercial Agriculture Development Project (CADP) was developed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in collaboration with the World Bank and other stakeholders in response to Federal Government of Nigeria’s quest for private sector intervention to develop agricultural value chains and accelerate agricultural growth “

He maintained that “the project was approved by the World Bank on January 15, 2009 but became effective on July 30, 2009 and was expected to close on December 31, 2014. However, following the request by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank approved the restructuring of the project to better align it with the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) and to speed up project implementation and disbursements with strategic focus on supporting the commodity marketing corporations, sharpening of focus on the most profitable value chains for new investors, supporting the establishment of aggregation centres, address post-harvest management issues and most significantly, Youth and Women Empowerment in terms of capacity building in entrepreneurship and support to initiate businesses along the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development’s Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP).”

Also speaking at the workshop, the Commissioner for Agriculture Cross River State Prof. Anthony Eneji enjoined all participants to take advantage of the workshop particularly the technical session and make it as interactive as possible, so that they can get full benefits and be a testimony for the success story of the programme.

CADP workshop in Calabar The Agric Commissioner expressed happiness that by the performance indictor reports of the programme so far there is a “30% increase in total sales of agricultural products under the targeted value chains of cocoa, oil palm and rice among participating small and medium scale commercial farmers (Cocoa, Oil palms and Rice). He pledged the state government’s continuous support for the programme.

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