By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has blamed incessant rainfall, the need to meet international best practices and Customs delays, as factors responsible for the delayed take-off of the garment factory in Calabar.
Ayade disclosed this, Tuesday while on an inspection tour of the site located along the Goodluck Jonathan bypass where he stressed that everything was now on track as over 500 equipment including computerized sewing machines, hemming and joining machines amongst others have arrived Calabar and ready for installation.
Replying to concerns from critics and the press on the reason for the failure to kick off the garment factory within his first hundred days in office as earlier scheduled, Ayade said the need to meet international standards in factory building, incessant rainfall amongst others were factors that slowed the pace of work.
“We projected that this work will take us only two months and we expected that by the third month in office this garment factory would have been up and running. The equipment were designed to arrive by then, we had Custom challenges. These things delayed by day, by weeks, but we are focused, we know where we are going, everything required is now here in Calabar. There is nothing we are expecting from abroad anymore,…” he said.
He also urged Cross Riverians to ensure they patronize the factory when completed as it will help turn around the economic fortunes of the state since it is Cross Riverians that will form the working core of the factory with the Italian partners providing technical services.
In another development, Governor Ayade has expressed his displeasure over the pace of work and talked tough to the management and contractors handling ongoing work at the Calabar International Convention Center, CICC.
Ayade, characteristically paid an unscheduled visit to the site where he discovered several things are still out of place and not ready as scheduled.
He expressed dissatisfaction with what he saw and could be heard telling the team that “You know how hard it is, I cough out money and let me come back and find this; you know what I can do…”
It is clear even to the untrained eye that the CICC which is billed to host a beauty pageant sometimes next month is nowhere near ready as contractors only carried out temporary cosmetic works at the venue for the May 29, 2015 inauguration ceremony.
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