By Ushang Ewa
Findings by CrossRiverWatch have revealed that the Cross River State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mac Creeds and Tom Consortium for the upgrade of Tinapa Lakeside Hotel in Calabar and Obudu Ranch Resort in Obanliku Local Government Area.
The MoU to revamp the mountain resort came three months after the state had signed another MoU with Zedici Capital limited to reactivate the same facility.
This is even as staff of the mountain resort under the aegis of the National Union of Hotels and Personnel Service Workers have threatened to go on strike over a bargaining impasse with the Cross River State Government on issues bordering on owed allowances and dilapidated structures.
The MoU, sources said, will see Mac Creeds and Tom consortium reconstruct the two facilities to optimise their tourism values in the state and Nigeria in general.
The agreement was signed on behalf of the state government by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Joe Abang, and the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Eric Anderson.
The Principal Partner, of the consortium, Mr. Kanu Signor, said the consortium in collaboration with technical partners from South Africa and Spain, will invest NGN 5billion into the projects.
“We are here to sign the MoU with respect to Tinapa Lakeside Hotel and Obudu Ranch Resort. The two locations are the most primed tourist destinations in Nigeria.
“As investors who are in partnership with our foreign counterparts from South Africa and Spain, we have decided to invest in the upgrade of the facilities and bring it to what it is meant for.
“We intend to hit the ground running by January. We are going to invest NGN 5billion. The construction will start as from January. We intend doing a bridge that will link Tinapa with Calabar International Conference Centre to ease vehicular access.
“So, we are looking at doing substantial work within the first 12 months and we would not shut down while doing the construction work,” Signor said.
And, the commissioner for culture and tourism in the state, Eric Anderson said the MoU was part of the administration’s effort to maximize the state’s tourism potential.
He said the agreement will only affect the hotel element of the Tinapa Premier Business and Leisure Resort.
In Cross River, we are known as one destination for tourism. This agreement will only affect the hotel element of Tinapa Business Centre and not the entire facility,” Mr. Anderson said.
There have been several MoU’s to these effect but both facilities are yet to achieve full potential.
However, the pioneer Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Professor Anya Anya, said the Nigerian experience showed that gigantic government projects were better managed by private concerns.
“Experience in Nigeria show that government could start and complete projects but do not often run these projects profitably. The projects we have in Cross River State, (Tinapa Lakeside Hotel and Obudu Ranch Resort), are visionary projects that will now require the private sector expertise to manage them profitable.
“These consortium will be investing up to N5bn in these projects in collaboration with international hotel managers. They will train our people to run projects after the next five years. In five years’ time, it will be Cross Riverians that will be running these two institutions,” Anya said.