By Our Correspondent
Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade has disclosed that four international companies with expertise in deep seaport are currently scrambling to invest in the Bakassi Deep Seaport being developed by the State Government.
Briefing newsmen at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar on his return from an extensive working trip to eleven countries in Europe, Asia and South America, the governor said it was imperative that he undertook the trip as he seeks to ramp up the economy of the state.
Ayade, who was received by his Deputy, Prof Ivara Esu and members of the State Executive Council, explained: “In recognizing the challenges that we have as a country, and of course, with the meltdown in the global economy, it is evident that only states that globalize their economy can move forward.”
Offering further explanation for his working trip, the governor added: “So what I have done is to go round the world in order to source a team of investors and bring them to Cross River State”, adding that, “what you are going to see in a couple of months is teams of investors arriving the state.”
Noting that Cross River offers special appeal as an investment destination, Governor Ayade further disclosed that as evidence of the uniqueness of the state as an investment hub, “some teams had arrived the state during my absence to do final detailed analysis and feasibility studies to be able to come back with vigor to invest in the state,” adding: “So what you will be seeing is a team of investors pouring in to finalize the discussions we had overseas.”
The governor who said he did a lot of presentations to several groups in Switzerland, and China, disclosed that “When I finished the presentations of our potentials in the deep seaport, they obviously knew that it was an opportunity for them to invest.
“When I did another presentation to another team in Belgium, they were fighting among themselves as to who will take over the project. In fact, they were so excited to take over.” he said.
According to Ayade, “As I speak to you today, I have four major port companies that are dying to take the project even if Cross River State has no dime. That is why I say these are forty two ways of doing business.”
Ayade noted that though Cross River receives very little from the federation account, “yet we were one of the few state that paid salaries before Easter. This is an indication that we have the capacity and the vision to move the state beyond money by using our intellect and fear of God.”
On why the machinery of government had continued to run smoothly during his working tour, Ayade disclosed that he was convinced that he has a competent Deputy in Prof. Esu who stood in for him.
“He is a senior professor to me, so you should understand that he has the capacity and equal drive.”
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