Abuja – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday in Abuja reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the revitalisation of the moribund seaport in the Eastern region of Nigeria.
He stated this after inspecting exhibition stands mounted by the Nigeria-American Chamber of Commerce, Kaduna State in partnership with the Economic Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
He was reacting to the moribund status of Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri Ports even as major imports into the country through Tin Can and Apapa were destined for the East.
According to the Vice President, the country needs more seaports but their development will be driven by the private sector.
“We simply need to develop more ports but for us it has to be private sector-led. A lot of these initiatives have been private sector led.
“I have been talking to several of the business communities in those areas.
“Many people are talking about Eastern Ports and I think they are important.
“We have also seen a lot of indication in the private sector that they are prepared to invest in some of these ports.
“So, the business of government is just to enable these things to happen and we are prepared to do that.’’
Osinbajo lauded the exhibitors who came out with new methods of advancing the Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“Well, I am always excited to see how extremely innovative and just how energetic our manufacturing community is; it is just a wide range of products that we have seen here today.
“And one of the things that strike you is that there is so much going on that you don’t know about.
“This is my second visit, I was here last year, to this exhibition, and there is tremendous improvement already.
“We have just seen someone who has a drying technology out there which could really help with a lot of post-harvest loses and all that and there are people who are doing all manner of creative things.’’
Osinbajo said that the exhibition indicated that diversification of the economy especially the agro- allied value chain ‘’has already taken root so much and we are seeing tremendous progress’’.
On how the Executive Orders would aid trade facilitation in the country, he stated that :“One of the very important things is the whole business of pre-investment approvals.’’
He expressed gratitude that such government agencies as NAFDAC, SON and BOI were being proactive in their approvals.
`I think they are a lot more proactive and I think that they are also working a lot more on the time it takes to get these approvals.
“That is really one of the most important things about the executive orders,’’ he said.
Osinbajo addressed the theme of the exhibition: “Assessing Hidden Opportunities and Linkages in Value Chain for Entrepreneurial Development’’ noting that the opportunities in the country were no longer hidden.
“Everyone has come to discover that this country is just so blessed with so much in terms of resources and I think that what we have seen especially with a lot of young entrepreneurs today is that these things are already being exploited.’’ (NAN)