By EMMA UNA
CROSS River State has in addition to being the preferred tourism destination also become the preferred investment hub in Nigeria with Private investment portfolio currently in excess of 2 billion dollars which have generated employment for hundreds of people in the state, Mr. Gerald Ada, the Special Adviser to Senator Liyel Imoke on Investment Promotion Bureau has said.
While interacting with newsmen on the activities of his Bureau in the past one year last week, Ada said the favourable investment climate in the state coupled with its innovative creation of a one -stop -investment centre have served as points of attraction to investors.
He said the state is gradually inching up the ladder to become one of the busiest economies in West Africa and “Our ultimate aim is to make the economy among the five biggest in Nigeria after Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano”.
Ada listed the businesses which have started activities in the state to include General Electric, GE, which has made a commitment of investing the sum of 250 million dollars in capital infrastructure and 800 million dollars in operational expenditure in the next five years with its recent groundbreaking ceremony at the Free Trade Zone in Calabar.
“Wilmar which is Asia’s leading Agribusiness Group which has taken over the CALARO Ibiaye and Obasanjo palm plantations is investing S400 million in agro- cultivation and processing and in return along with this come about twenty thousand jobs which would be created for the people from this investment”.
Other investments, the Special Adviser stated are coming from Nigeria’s major industrial conglomerate, Dangote Group which is also investing in the state through the establishment of a cement manufacturing plant worth 800 dollars million while Essar Power has concluded arrangement for establishing an energy and power plant with a capacity to generate 250 megawatts of electricity and is investing another 200 million dollars.