The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and the Cross River State Government have agreed to work out a realistic modality to revive the moribund Tinapa Free Trade Zone owned by the state.
This agreement was reached when the new NEPZA Managing Director, Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi paid a courtesy visit on Gov. Bassey Otu on Wednesday in Calabar.
Ogunyemi, expressed delight on 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 Gov. Bassey Otu-led administration which will now holistically reposition the state for the attraction of investments and for industrialization.
“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 realized. This will again help to lubricate the film industry in Nigeria,’’ Ogunyemi said.
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 on the activities of unwanted tax operators in the state whose actions regularly impugn on the incentives the NEPZA Act had granted freezone operators and enterprises within the zones.
On his part, Gov. Otu, expressed delight on 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 partnership with the Authority would become tighter and more meaningful henceforth.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Mr Peter Odey, solicited NEPZA’s assistance and cooperation in order 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. This gesture is needed to help direct our limited fund toward redeveloping the zone due to its vandalization during the “End Sars’’ national protest.
“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 for the zone provides for the locals.
“It is on this note, that I profoundly thank the President, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR for his unwavering support for the attraction of Foreign Direct Investment into the country and the sustenance of the free trade scheme to fast track our industrialization process.
“The state does not hesitate when it comes to partnering with federal agencies that will help to catalyse the development of the state,’’ the governor said.
Ogunyemi concluded his visit to Calabar on Thursday with an inspection tour of some of the enterprises in the zone.
Martins Odeh PhD
Head Corporate Communications, NEPZA
January 21st, 2024