By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Government has announced its intention to partner the Dana group of companies in the Calabar Pharmaceutical Company (Calapharm) as well as in aviation to float its own airline, CaliAir.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade disclosed this to newsmen, Friday at the site of the Calapharm adjacent the Cross River Textile and Garment Factory while on routine inspection with the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dana Group of Companies PLc, Jacky Hathiramani where he said that the Calapharm will compliment the State Health Insurance Scheme Agency bill recently passed into law by the House of Assembly as it will reduce the dependency on foreign drugs.
Ayade posited that the factory will also ease the pressure on the Naira as it is positioned to cater for the South South region of the country which does not have a large pharmaceutical company. He said the foreign exchange required to buy foreign drugs will be cut down.
On the partnership with Dana, the governor stressed that the government was not shutting out its Pakistani partner but merely seeking for more partnerships as Dana which is abreast of the business terrain will bring in quality and managerial expertise.
Furthermore, Ayade said that it was well established that the plane bought by the state and currently with Aero needed to fly as Aero is going through some challenges while Dana will do a specific technical and business survey to ensure the lane is back on air in a few months to ply the Calabar – Bebi – Calabar (CBQ-BEB-CBQ), Calabar – Lagos (CBQ-LOS) and Calabar – Abuja (CBQ-ABV) routes especially as the Carnival and Calabar festival was around the corner.
While fielding questions from journalists, Jacky said that he believed the Calapharm will be fully ready and equipped to begin operations in about 1 year and said that the two parties were already finalizing discussions.
Also, he said that he was impressed with what he had seen so far and expressed confidence in the governor’s capabilities to accelerate the project.
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