By CrossRiverWatch Admin
This week I got a fresh awakening that Governor Ayade still remains ensconced in his elusive search for foreign investors ostensibly to jump start the Cross River State private sector development he loves to talk about without doing anything about, running to two years now since assuming office as Governor.
The news still coming about flying to South Africa from London to do so is daily diminishing the status of the office of Governor itself because it does seem the premium is more in the fact of the governor traveling abroad than in the achievement of the objective of the trip, since none has ever been recorded after all the Paul Ifere census of the scores of foreign trips.
Maybe I will be reminded of the garment factory achievement which till date is not known to even have been test run yet, not to talk of being put to any productive use.
We do appreciate that as a project., it has served it’s purpose by delivering more than adequate dividends to the contractor but what of the real stakeholders?
The billions of public funds needlessly wasted remain like the Biblical servant who went to bury his master’s loan in the ground without investing it. No jobs created, no return on investment, a piece for just SHOW! What an investment!
Anyway, to remind him that primaries for governorship elections will hold next year! Maybe he is planning the factory as a campaign tool for second term no less! If so he will still need a few more to sound convincing.
Now that he is awash with cash from the revelations of all the bumper releases PMB has generously given to the governors for bailout, which most of them are unwilling to use for the purpose even though the money is far in excess of actual needs, we are seeing again fresh efforts at foreign trips for foreign investors.
Now we hear our Governor wants to buy fishing vessels and merchant vessels! I thought the governor said he was a business man and would run the state like a business man.
I’m yet to know of any capitalism where the state invests in fishing directly other than creating the enabling environment for fishermen to do so. Ditto for shipping.
Cross River State was ahead of the Federal Government in divesting from private sector business, selling her Agriculture estates, Hotels, etc.
In a strange reversal of fortunes it seems we are back trying to set up government businesses all over the place without any cohesive plan on how or what to do with them apart from just setting them up.
That it is lucrative to award contracts for setting up is understandable but can we spend four years attempting this and hope to get away with it?
I always remind my fellow politicians that the day of reckoning must come surely. When I look around I see few survivors of those rumored to have made so much money in recent years still living like they are enjoying same, if they still have it at all. Why do we insist that ours will be different?
If the Governor truly wants to encourage private sector investment, what he needs is to turn Tinapa into an Industrial Park in collaboration with some Chinese firms who will readily jump at it.
Minimal cost will go into basic restructuring. For instance to achieve the space he used for the still-born garment factory, T-Mart Store space, would have been more than adequate and saved the state the billions spent on construction!
Space for similar modular factories still abounds within the zone with various incentives in tax rebates and export waivers even if within the ECOWAS region alone.
Such factories that would not cost more than 30-50 million naira can be set up and can be run in partnership with foreign investors ( capital) , Government (matching grant to )private individuals who are willing to buy them off after an agreed period by paying off government investment.
To hope to run factories directly as government is a moribund model which the governor knows is unworkable at the best of times.
To expect wholesale foreign investors without local partnership to risk the entire stakes, would require much more incentives than the Cross River State environment currently provides.
Since I did not set out to do a proposal on Business Development for Cross River state government, let me stop here.
We all have our blueprints and some day will have the opportunity to show case the difference between reality and utopia. Suffice it to say, enough is enough of these embarrassing trips.
I understand one former Governor of Jigawa state has been spotted around Cross River state government House lately. The one that was almost declared AWOL by the state House of Assembly during his tenure!
The one renowned for foreign trips for foreign investors! He left his state without any “investment ” after 8 years and uncountable trips” abroad”, even though some of them were to Calabar here to hole up at Mirage Hotel for months on end! If that is the model we are copying, I can understand.
If we genuinely want to get investors interested in putting their money on us, we must use the cash at hand as ready matching grants to encourage investors to believe that we are serious and work out a model that can be a win win for all concerned.
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