By Our Reporter
To revive the moribund Tinapa Free Trade Zone, the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, and Cross River State Government have agreed to work out a realistic modality of the state-owned trade zone.
The agreement, CONVERSEER learned was reached when the new Managing Director of NEPZA, Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi paid a courtesy visit to Governor Bassey Otu in Calabar on Thursday (18 Jan. 2024).
According to The Whistler, Ogunyemi expressed delight in the state’s desire to revamp the unique free trade zone ostensibly established to service the entertainment industry.
“First, let me appreciate the excellent achievements already recorded by the Governor Bassey Otu-led administration which will now holistically reposition the state for the attraction of investments and industrialisation.
“We have seen how the administration’s effort at preserving life and property in the state is yielding the desired result, including ensuring that Calabar is relisted among attractive spots for large-scale business activity.
“On our part, NEPZA is prepared to extend expertise and cooperation to ensure that the desire of the administration to revamp the almost moribund Tinapa Free Trade Zone is realised. This will again help to lubricate the film industry in Nigeria,’’ Ogunyemi said.
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The NEPZA Managing Director, however, urged the state government to upscale its interest and participation at the Calabar Free Trade Zone, adding that such involvement was vital to the overall promotion and preservation of the place.
He also solicited the state government’s intervention in the activities of unwanted tax operators in the state whose actions regularly impugn the incentives the NEPZA Act had granted free zone operators and enterprises within the zones.
On his part, Otu, expressed delight at the visit of the NEPZA managing director, adding that the administration was opened for a more robust cooperation with the Authority.
The governor said no state government that was desirous of speedy growth through economic development would loosely identify with NEPZA, adding that Cross River State’s partnership with the Authority would become tighter and more meaningful henceforth.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, solicited NEPZA’s assistance and cooperation to revamp the Tinapa Free Trade Zone without further delay.
“The state has reconfigured the strategy for Tinapa and Obudu Cattle Ranch to meet up with global standards, competition, and for profitability. We, therefore, urge the new NEPZA management, led by Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, to please review the accumulated unpaid Tinapa Licence Renewal fees.
“Similarly, the peace, stability, and functionality of the investors and the entire Calabar Free Trade Zone landscape is a priority for the state as we remain the first beneficiary of the end products from the zone. The state is also not unaware of the employment opportunities that the zone provides for the locals,” he said.
Ogunyemi concluded his visit to Calabar with an inspection tour of some of the enterprises in the zone.