Cross River signs N8b pact to build international market
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Cross River State government objective of economic development has signed a Concession agreement with Bluewaters Development Company Ltd for the development of a new International Central Market at Ekabo, Calabar Municipality. The project is expected to be completed within 24-months.
The project was conceived by the state government as a wholesale/retail market to serve the immediate Cross River State community as well as grow into a major business hub feeding smaller markets beyond state.The market also is planned and designed to take advantage of the current trade volumes between Nigerian businesses and countries of the central African region largely undertaken through markets in Cross River State particularly at the Calabar Marina and Ikom.
According to Governor Liyel Imoke, ?the present markets at Watt and Ika Ika Oqua have outgrown their infrastructure and have become overcrowded, coupled with the need to provide the City of Calabar with an ultra modern market befitting its status as a tourism destination, hence the need for this new market?.
He said the new Central Market on completion will provide traders with 21st century infrastructure such as warehousing, vehicle parks, open/lock-up shops, abattoirs, cold rooms, banking halls, administrative facilities and clinic. About 4500 shops are to be provided in the market. Existing retail activities at the Watt and Ika Ika Oqua Markets shall be relocated to the New Central Market. Already, consultations have begun with existing trading and market associations on this subject, not only to secure their full buy-in but also to develop a sustainable plan for assisting traders to own their shops in the new market.
He further hinted that the location of the new market at Ekabo is also intended as a catalyst for the orderly growth/development of the Greater Calabar Area on the northern-eastern axis, adding that the concession is the first being developed for negotiation and execution with private sector-led consortia under the auspices of the state?s PPP policy and legislative frameworks rated to be one of the best-drafted in the country.
The project is expected to be completed within 24-months.
The project concessionaire, Bluewaters Development Company Ltd, is expected to deploy private financing to realize the project development through a public-private partnership model. However, every key stage of the project development will be executed according to standards/specifications as agreed with and monitored by the state government. Government will ensure that the project meets international standards and serves as value addition to government?s socio-economic development aspirations.
?We will build a modern market that will outclass any modern market elsewhere. This administration will leave the market as a legacy of pride?, said Prof. Jerry Gana, Director of Bluewaters and one time Minister.