Thursday, 8 June 2017

Calabar Sea Port: A Blessing Not a Curse

By Sunny Joseph

Nigeria as a country is so big that one state's population is more than so many countries in Africa, by implication it means to service her people; more infrastructures need to be put in place.

The major seaports in Nigeria servicing over 180Million people excluding our neighboring countries who also depend on imports through Nigeria are Apapa Wharf Seaport and Tin Can Seaport both in Lagos State.
This is why Lagos is one of the most populated and richest state in Nigeria despite it is Nigeria one of the smallest state in terms of land mass.

 Not until the recent discovery of small quantity of crude oil deposit in Badagry, Lagos State has no Natural resources. What is the source of Lagos State Revenue? Simple: the Seaports and their good tax system is their main source of revenue. 

I listened to the Managing Director (MD) of Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman on Television where she state categorically that Calabar Seaport is the Second Largest Seaport in Nigeria if completed; that the Seaport will service all the South- Eastern States, the South South States, Majority of the Northern States and some of our Neighboring countries like Cameroun, Chad and Niger Republic. She pointed out that the Federal Government is ready to take 60% of the total Cost of Calabar deep Seaport. Wow! That's great News for my dear State.

What then are the benefits of Calabar Deep Seaport?
From experience I discovered that so many small scale businesses will spring up in the State as a result of the Seaport, in Lagos I interacted with a few young guys who have one or Two photocopier machines in small offices at the Apapa Wharf Seaport, they told me sometimes they make about N7000 to N10000 daily, there are those who sell stamps, Stationeries, food, foodstuff, Recharge cards, and several other things at the Seaport. 

Those with good computer centers who print out information and type documents also make good money from the seaport. If the Calabar Seaport is fully completed, more than 30000 jobs will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the Seaport.

Secondly, Calabar Seaport will reduce the cost of transportation for some of our importers from South-East and South- South. The cost of transporting a 40ft container from Lagos to any State in the South-East and South-South is Approximately N350, 000 per 40tons, this transportation cost will come down to as low as N150,000 or less if the Calabar seaport is functional.

This will even reduce the selling price of these imported goods to our people. We can attest to the fact that the Major importers in Nigeria are the Igbos and Calabar Seaport is just at their backyard, if Calabar can get just 30% of the Market Share of Lagos through the deep Seaport then our State will witness a great Economic boom. Most markets in Lagos are developed by the Igbos because of the Apapa Wharf seaport to enable then sell their goods, they will gladly do the same thing in Cross River State if the Seaport is ready for use. 

Majority of the buildings and Estates in Lagos are also owned by the Igbos as a result of the high Migration to Lagos. The Seaport will equally bring about infrastructural development in the state, Many Shipping Companies will Establish their offices in Calabar thereby creating employment.
Thirdly, Government revenue will increase greatly from Personal Income tax and corporate taxes and other levies. 

This is what makes Lagos State one of the richest in the country. A lot of revenue can be generated from Seaport activities, Singapore as a country generates most of her income through the Seaports. Cross River State stand a chance to compete favorably with Lagos if this Project is fully implemented.

The Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises will take a new face in the State, the drive and thrift of this sector of the economic will be unprecedented. It will revitalized the zeal of our youth to be self-employed and contribute greatly to the State Economy. Many opportunities for income generation will emerged.

The Superhighway will connect the State with the Northern part of the Country thereby bringing that Segment of the Market to the State as well. You will agree with me that the Northern part of the country is highly populated and can bring so much to the table. Cross River State holds the Comparative edge to Lagos in terms of Nearness to the North.

This automatically wins that wing of the Market segmentation to Cross River. The North also connects us with other neighboring Countries like Niger, Chad and Northern Cameroun. Calabar deep Seaport can take over the Market from Lagos within a short while judging from our Comparative Advantage in terms of Larger Land Mass and more conducive weather and topography.

All these and more will surely portray Cross River State as not just the best Tourist Destination but also the most industrialized State in the Country. Our digital Governor H.E Prof Ben Ayade is committed to making this happen, he needs the Support of every well meaning Cross Riverian to succeed. These Major Projects he has identified will definitely bring Cross River State out of Penury and set the State on Course for vibrant economic and social development.

Sunny Joseph
Entrepreneur, Business Developer and Life Coach