The State House of Assembly recently set up a special committee to liaise with the management of Tinapa business resort in identifying the challenges facing the multi-billion Naira resort, its ownership, the debt profile and some of the key issues affecting business activities of the world class infrastructure.
Speaking earlier, the chairman of the special committee Chief Jacob Enyia, said that the committee was set up to support Tinapa and obtain relevant information about the status of the resort, the shareholders level of investment and the investors, its indebtedness as at April 2007 when it was commissioned and the current indebtedness, how much it had generated and the challenges facing its operation.
Essentially the committee seeks to identify what kind of support is required to facilitate its business and leisure activities.
Accordingly, Mr. Bassey Eyo Ndem, the Managing Director of Tinapa business resort, while speaking before the committee, said “the future was not bleak for the outfit noting that Tinapa was a long term investment which has the potential to change the fortunes of the State and the country” Understandably, the House of Assembly was reacting to the concerns expressed by members of the public in terms of their perception that the project is not realizing its full potential.
Mr. Ndem, noted that a lot of investors with proof of funds have indicated serious interest in partnering and investing in Tinapa. As at today, there is indeed, a notable increase in patronage. Over 500 containers moved through Tinapa last year with an attendant increase in revenue accruing to the Federal Government. The 242 Room Tinapa lakeside Hotel, is also experiencing an improvement in their occupancy levels, while the Water Park and the Games Arcade have continued to attract reasonable patronage from leisure seekers from all over the country.
Regarding support from the Cross River State Government, Mr. Ndem added that the state Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has continued to see Tinapa as a special purpose vehicle for improving the State’s economy, through tourism development, employment generation and the enhancement of the overall well being of its citizenry. As a result, the State Government has continued to lend their support in attracting business to the zone.
While commending the Federal Government for the initial guarantee for Tinapa bonds, which the State Government is currently repaying, it is worth noting that the Federal Government as the main beneficiary of the project is expected to go further in supporting the Tinapa Free Trade Zone through regional infrastructure development. Presently, the planned railway Network which is expected to emanate from Port Harcourt and also pass through Owerri, does not include Calabar, the home of Tinapa and the Calabar Free Trade Zone, Nigeria’s Premier Free Zone, established by the Federal Government in 1999.
Other possible areas of support expected from the Federal Government include the furnishing of the Off –shore Banking Guidelines by the Central Bank of Nigeria for Banks operating in Tinapa and other Free Zones, the speedy dredging of the Calabar channel and the establishment of a Trade Facilitation Fund to improve trade in the zone.
Mr. Bassey Ndem submitted the requested documents to the Chairman of the Special Committee, Chief Jacob Enya even as additional documents will be forwarded to the committee to provide the requisite repository of information and knowledge required by the Special Committee to effectively support the management of Tinapa through genuine interventions.
Indeed, this synergy that is developing between the Cross River State House of Assembly and the Tinapa Management is worthy of commendation as this will further provide a veritable platform for more commitment on the part of the State Legislature and deepen the interest of Cross Riverians in the Tinapa project.
Medial/ public affairs