TINAPA BUSINESS RESORT, CALABAR
Tinapa Tourist Resort in Calabar, Cross River State has officially been put up for sale. The multi billion business tourist resort facility is being put up for sale by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON.
This clarification was made by the Cross River State government over the weekend as it faces criticism over the alleged sale of the state prime tourist resort.
The state government through a reliable source revealed that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) bought over the assets and liabilities of the facility as a receiver to the banks that financed the facility midwived by the state government many years ago.
The Tinapa facility it was disclosed was also used as a collateral for the loan which is said to about N48 billion . The money was borrowed by the then government of Donald Duke who also conceived and initiated the Tinapa BusinessTourist centre.
The source said the state government is only acting more or less as an interested party in the sale but without having control over the sale. It is trite however that she must be carried along with the eventual sale since she still has some equity in the facility.
This explains the tripartite meeting she is having with the prospective buyer ROPA Corporation Inc and AMCON.
It would be recalled that Tinapa was set up by Governor Donald Duke as a way to boost business and tourism in the state. It is believed that over $350 million was spent on initial development.
The first phase of Tinapa Business Resort & Free Zone, Calabar, was commissioned on 2 April 2007. Tinapa is a 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) drive from Calabar by a roundabout route, however, the federal government has built a more direct 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) access road to link it with the city.
The business resort was projected to become a custom duty free zone but the legal status of its operations has been mired in politics, confusion and uncertainty thus eroding the confidence of investors and slowing killing the dreams of the project as a retail hub in West Africa.
Though it is owned by the Cross River state government, only the Federal Government can operate a free trade zone. Governor Liyel Imoke the former governor of the state had appealed to the federal government to take a stake in the project, and to remove uncertainty about its status which is hindering investment. However all his appeals and endeavours fell on deaf ears as the federal government failed to approved the business resort as a special free trade centre.
The result is that the business resort is largely neglected with majority of the shops empty. The few visitors it now attracts are those visiting the hotel and it’s facilities for relaxation.
The sale of the edifice by its financiers might only relief the state government of its financial burden in the facility and not necessarily revamp the resort and make it achieve the purpose it was establish for .