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Calabar Chamber of Commerce’s moves to revitalize Calabar Port lauded by Customs Area Controller, Port Manager & CFTZ GM

Calabar Chamber of Commerce’s moves to revitalize Calabar Port lauded by Customs Area Controller, Port Manager & CFTZ GM

Recent moves by the Calabar Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CALCCIMA) to revitalize activities at the Calabar Port Complex has received commendations and pledges of support from a cross section of stakeholders at the Calabar Port.

During a courtesy visit on Friday, 10th of March by a delegation of the Chamber led by the President, Mr Efa Imoke, the Customs Area Controller, Mrs N.P. Burromvyat expressed her concern about the low level of activities at the Calabar Port Complex and requested the Chamber to use its position as the driver of  business in the State to sensitize the business community of the need to patronize the Port. She decried the practice of businesses in the State importing and exporting through the Onne & Lagos Ports noting that it increases their overall cost as opposed to using the Calabar Port. She also requested the Chambers to sensitize businesses on the Customs regulations and the need to adhere to it saying that the Command has set up a help desk to assist the business community to address its challenges and concerns. She also requested the Chamber to partner with the State Government to attract patronage to the port by asserting pressure to ensure the capital dredging of the Calabar port channel. She pledged the readiness of the Command to collaborate with the Chamber to make the business environment smooth and easy for the business community in Cross River State.

The President of the Chamber, Mr Efa Imoke had earlier in his address, recognized the role of the Customs and how their operations affected the business community and to sought their collaboration in reviving activities at the Calabar Port as well as addressing the concerns of the business community, he enquired to know how the Chamber can assist the Command to achieve its mandate effectively in the State. In his presentation, the Vice President CFTZ, Capt. Robert Akpojovwo, who is also the Chairman of Association of Licensed Customs Agents in Cross River State had noted the challenges facing the port and its patronage and noted that the Chamber in conjunction with other stakeholders is making serious moves to attract improved patronage to the port through its activities.

The President, Mr. Imoke in his address had welcomed the Port manager to Calabar and noted that based on her background, her recent posting to Calabar port was not a coincidence. He applauded her efforts to solve the myriad of problems confronting the Port and pledged to assist her in her reforms to get the port working at optimal capacity. He noted that the Calabar port had potentials and that the Chamber wanted to leverage on taking advantage to boost the local economy in line with the current effort to diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil and detach the State from dependence on Federal allocations by boosting its own resources to attract foreign exchange noting that the Calabar Port was key in achieving that. He informed the Port Manager that a number of the Chamber members were preparing for export including GE who are looking beyond the Nigerian market upon completion of their Factory, Lafarge Africa whose expansion program will afford it opportunity to export cement out of Nigeria and other companies like Wilmar and others at the CFTZ.

At the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Port Manager, Mrs. B. O. Olotu welcomed the President and his team and noted that the Calabar Port’s potentials were not being tapped by the Cross River business community. She asked the Chamber to revive the culture of doing the Calabar trade fair annually noting that this is one of the avenues that the port’s potentials can be showcased. She expressed the readiness of the NPA management to partner with CALCCIMA to promote not just the Calabar port but Cross River State as a business destination. She requested the Chamber to please intervene with the State Government to address the challenge of illegal settlers around the Esuk Utan and port area, observing that their presence around volatile installations especially the petroleum tank farms was a grave danger to everyone around there. She expressed her confidence that the capital dredging of the Calabar port channel would soon be put to rest and used the opportunity to let the world know that Calabar Port is still very functional and ready to do business

The President, Mr. Imoke in his address had welcomed the Port manager to Calabar and noted that based on her background, her recent posting to Calabar port was not a coincidence. He applauded her efforts to solve the myriad of problems confronting the Port and pledged to assist her in her reforms to get the port working at optimal capacity. He noted that the Calabar port had potentials and that the Chamber wanted to leverage on taking advantage to boost the local economy in line with the current effort to diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil and detach the State from dependence on Federal allocations by boosting its own resources to attract foreign exchange noting that the Calabar Port was key in achieving that. He informed the Port Manager that a number of the Chamber members were preparing for export including GE who are looking beyond the Nigerian market upon completion of their Factory, Lafarge Africa whose expansion program will afford it opportunity to export cement out of Nigeria and other companies like Wilmar and others at the CFTZ.

During the visit to the CFTZ, the GM CFTZ, Engr. Godwin Ekpe welcomed the team to the CFTZ and noted that the relationship between the CFTZ and CALCCIMA goes a long way back and that both organizations are similar in their roles. He decried the policy summersaults of Government which was a problem for businesses and the reason the CFTZ has not been able to fully achieve its goals over the years. He noted that there were opportunities for backward integration of the zone with the local economy. Most of the incentives granted to companies in the zone like exemptions from Federal, State & Local Govt. taxes has been eroded by the foreign exchange policy of government, the need for infrastructure upgrade in the zone, power challenges and space for expansion. He noted that recently a misunderstanding with the State government led to the closure of the gates of the zone for about 3 days. He requested the Chambers to please intervene and sensitize the CRS govt. on the tax status of the zone and create awareness on the role of the CFTZ while calling on members of the Chamber to invest in the zone decrying the spate of business closures in the zone due to the enumerated challenges. He pledged the support of the management of the CFTZ in the Chamber’s effort to revive the Calabar port.

The President had earlier in his speech noted that the visit was to plant a seed for collaboration between the Chamber and the zone to meet its goals and objectives. The visits were in continuation of the Calabar Chamber’s business environment assessment drive and its desire to create the right partnerships and collaborations to enhance the local business environment.

During the visit to the CFTZ, the GM CFTZ, Engr. Godwin Ekpe welcomed the team to the CFTZ and noted that the relationship between the CFTZ and CALCCIMA goes a long way back and that both organizations are similar in their roles. He decried the policy summersaults of Government which was a problem for businesses and the reason the CFTZ has not been able to fully achieve its goals over the years. He noted that there were opportunities for backward integration of the zone with the local economy. Most of the incentives granted to companies in the zone like exemptions from Federal, State & Local Govt. taxes has been eroded by the foreign exchange policy of government, the need for infrastructure upgrade in the zone, power challenges and space for expansion. He noted that recently a misunderstanding with the State government led to the closure of the gates of the zone for about 3 days. He requested the Chambers to please intervene and sensitize the CRS govt. on the tax status of the zone and create awareness on the role of the CFTZ while calling on members of the Chamber to invest in the zone decrying the spate of business closures in the zone due to the enumerated challenges. He pledged the support of the management of the CFTZ in the Chamber’s effort to revive the Calabar port.

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