WORRIED by the lull in business activities at Tinapa, Africa’s Business and Leisure Resort, in Calabar, Cross River state, investors have called for an urgent intervention with the floating of about $8 billion Trade Activation Fund (TAF).
Tinapa was commissioned six years ago but is still wobbling to survive due to lack of mega funds, shallow channel of Calabar port, poor road network into the city and, government bureaucracy among other.
The investors at the facility, expressed worry over this scenario and want the Federal Government’s intervention, especially in the area of funding, to allow Tinapa measure up to its initial objective of being “the Dubai” of Africa.
In a chat with The Guardian in Calabar, the Managing Director of Tradewinds Nigeria Limited, Frank Umeh, who spoke on behalf of other investors in the zone, said “trade activation fund is our desire to get access to funds with necessary and good terms that will allow us to be competitive in the trading arena. We hope that the government of the day or any other source could provide the needed backbone on funding with terms that will be favourable and enable us engage in a volume trade within Tinapa, develop just like Dubai Free Zone developed”.
He added: “Trade and leisure go together and basically in the South South and South East, we are traders. At the international airport, you will see us going out in large number to Dubai to do trade and commerce.
“Dubai started from trade before even the leisure segment of the business. They did not even start building hotels. So they supported their own trading firms to go into massive importation and with that, they get discount. They were able to get good prices to make people able to come to Dubai to buy.
“So, trade activation fund is meant to support us to import good products and be able to sell at good prices, which necessarily will get people from far and near to come and purchase those goods in good environment in Tinapa and I am sure while doing business, they can also engage in the leisure which the other arm of Tinapa is known for”.
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