Cameroon-Nigeria trade leaks over $15m – Gov Otu tells World Bank team

Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State has disclosed that various leakages in international border trade between Nigeria and Cameroon result in losses exceeding $15 million.

He lamented that the burgeoning trade at the Mfum International Border does not yield any meaningful revenues to the state tax net. He advised that the substantial trans-African trade through the border be closely monitored.

Otu spoke when he hosted a team from the World Bank in Calabar, the state capital.

The team was in Cross River State on a fact-finding mission to federal government agencies in the state, as well as to examine issues limiting trans-African free trade.

The Cross River State governor, Senator Bassey Otu, has called on the World Bank and other multilateral agencies to assist in bridging the socioeconomic gap between Africa and the rest of the world.

Otu described the team’s visit as timely, stating that it has become imperative to reduce the barriers inhibiting free trade, especially in the African region.

“My call to the World Bank is to strive to balance the world’s economy. We still have a lot of migrant pressure across the world. This is because the global economy is not stable. Once the economy is unbalanced, there is always going to be that pressure.

“It is time for things to be relaxed for other regions to grow at their own pace. International organizations like the World Bank and United Nations should make efforts to ensure that things are balanced.

“In Cross River, we have all it takes in terms of resources and productivity. But there is still some variance. You are coming at a more auspicious time when windows of economic development have to be open. We happen to be quite a blessed state with three corridors of wealth – water, land, and air.

“There is no excuse whatsoever for Cross River not to move up the socioeconomic ladder. Those times have passed. We want to truly move forward,” the governor enthusiastically stated.

He posited that the state is comparatively advantageous in the Gulf of Guinea, both in terms of proximity and cultural affinity, calling on investors to take advantage of the many opportunities for investment in the area.

“We are putting things in place to address such leaks for the benefit of the people and government of Cross River State.”

In his remarks, the World Bank team lead, Aleksandar Stojorov, thanked the governor for his support and cooperation, which enabled the delegation to visit the Mfum border in Etung Local Government Area and the Nigeria Ports Authority, Calabar.

He said the fact-finding mission will help his team in its engagement with the federal government of Nigeria’s Ministry of Trade and Investment as well as other related agencies, with the objective of making trans-African trade seamless and enhancing its export competitiveness for the overall benefit of the state and nation at large.

The President of the Calabar Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (CALCIMA), Mr. David Etim, also expressed his commitment to the success of the Ease of Doing Business initiative in Cross River State.

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