By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River state government says it is set to redefine its signage and advertising agency as an outdoor regulatory body which will look beyond setting tariffs to creating jobs through skill transfer and building a fabrication industry.
The deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu stated this while declaring open the maiden edition of Cross River State Signage and Advertising Agency (CRISSAA) Investment Forum held Thursday, at the Mirage hotel in Calabar where he averred that the actions and policies of the current administration in the state, are geared towards reducing dependency on federal allocations and will impact positively, on operators of outdoor advertising agencies.
He said preparations and arrangements for the construction of a cottage and high-end concerns through public private partnerships were in advanced levels even as he was optimistic that the serene business environment coupled with the “encouraging annual growth rate of 4.03% and annual GDP growth rate of 6.33%”, will translate to maximum profit earnings as the state continues to witness a high influx of investors as compared to other states in the country.
“The management of the Cross River State Signage and Advertising Agency has accordingly been directed to redefine the agency as an outdoor regulatory body which will not be specifically focused on setting tariffs and revenue collection, but will also be involved in maintaining standards, creating jobs, transferring skills and building a fabrication industry that will cater for our indigenes and the nation at large” Esu said.
Earlier, the Director General CRISSAA, Stanley Nsemo said the road to the maiden edition of the outdoor investment forum began upon his assumption in office when he was charged with ensuring the agency is not limited to revenue generation only through setting tariffs and enforcement but look at a way to create wealth, allowing people to key into the various opportunities available to earn a living.
Stanley noted that the economy was in dire straits but pointed out that Cross River had a lot to offer.
“We brainstormed to see what we can do differently in CRISSAA. We decided not to go in the direction of just revenue collections and revenue enforcement so we came up with something different that will create a multiplier effect down the chain, something that will empower young people, something that will create a lot of opportunities for a lot of people to benefit, that is where this idea came forth” Stanley said.
Rosemary Archibong, the Information Commissioner, on her part said she is not surprised about Stanley’s idea as they are working under a principal that also has “noble ideas and initiatives”, therefore the motivation came from above.
Attendees at the event in separate interviews said the investment forum showed the state was sensitive to the economic issues facing the country.
Femi Ogah, the General Secretary of the Association of the Outdoor Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria said “It is the first time that we are actually having something like this, a program set out for outdoor advertising practitioners. We are happy with what Cross River State’s doing because things have changed. This is the first time that we are seeing government reacting to what is happening in the economy and not thinking about money because it does not always have to do with money.”
“This is an initiative that is set up and is geared towards stimulating the economy, we obviously need support from government; it should not always be about revenue only” Valentine Elaigwu, the head of Capital OOH said.
The two day event which featured a technical session for invited participants drew outdoor advertising practitioners from across the globe and had in attendance the Environment Commissioner, Engineer Mike Eraye and several other top government functionaries.
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