The Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime, on Tuesday said the Calabar Free Trade Zone, has attracted over eleven thousand (N11,000) direct and indirect employment in Cross River State, since inception.
This came just as the state governor, Prof Ben Ayade, while receiving the management team of NEPZA during a courtesy call on him in Calabar, promised to reverse the revocation of a parcel of land given to the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) by the administration of former governor Donald Duke.
The land, measuring about 98.024 hectare, was revocated by the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Liyel Imoke, it was gathered.
In his address at the occasion, the MD told the governor that despite all odds, the zone had recorded giant strides including massive job creation, technology transfer/skill acquisition from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), granting of scholarship to members of the host communities among others, over the years.
The new MD said he was in the state to intimate the governor on critical issues that borders on the activities of the Calabar Free Trade Zone, and sought the needed partnership to move the zone and state forward.
He said: “Your excellency, we make bold to state that the Free Trade Zone Scheme in the state has attracted over 11,000 direct and indirect employment from inception till date and still attracting.
“Technology transfer/skill acquisition from FDI and Nigerian companies located in the zone such as Skyrun International FZE, M Saleh Engineering FZE, Combination Industries FZE, General Electric FZE and oil and gas companies etc, as many of the indigenes of the state are employed by this companies.
Responding, governor Ben Ayade thanked the new MD of NEPZA for the visit, expressing his administration’s readiness for a partnership that would revive both the Calabar Free Trade Zone and Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort.
He said his administration will also do everything possible to support NEPZA in dredging the Calabar water ways, to ensure that the Calabar Free Trade Zone and Tinapa function optimally.
“Because you have asked that we give you more land, we would, but I will give you my own conditions behind closed doors.
“Concerning dredging of the water ways, we would do it, but it’s a commitment for you to go back and make Calabar Free Trade Zone and Tinapa work.”
Meanwhile, the new MD of NEPZA, at the occasion, disclosed that the Federal Government has proposed to site an industrial park in Cross River State, among other zones in Nigeria.