ASSET Managemnt Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may soon secure the mandate of Cross Rivers State Government to take over the management of Tinapa Business Resort, under an N18.509 billion buy-back deal of the moribund organisation’s debt profile.
As part of the package, the Cross River State government will transfer its controlling interest in Tinapa, while AMCON will provide N26 billion for the revitalization and resuscitation of the resort, to reposition it as a private sector driven enterprise.
However, the takeover plans, still being deliberated upon by the state’s House of Assembly, did not disclose the total sum involved in the deal over as initial investment in Tinapa was put at over $400 million (N60 billion).
The Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Larry Odey informed the legislators of the transfer plans through a circular with reference no SSG/GSA/300VOLXV1/223 and captioned Re-Approval for the Transfer of controlling interest in Tinapa Business Leisure Resort to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON)” from the state government.
The letter stated that “following the inability of the resort to meet desired expectations of both Cross River state Government and core investors especially banks and some Local Government Councils in the State, it has been realised that the most viable options to salvage the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort is to seek private sector equity investment and divestment of significant interest of the state in the project”.
While presenting the letter, the Speaker told members that “the development is a thing of joy to the people of the state that negotiation has been concluded and cheering news to members of the Cross River State House of Assembly”.
However, the member representing Ikom 1 Agbiji, Mbe Agbiji observed that the content of the letter did not mention the contributions of Local governments in the state that have invested the cost of seeding ownership to AMCON and other details of the Memorandum of Understanding.
He said the letter did not also convey the total state investment in Tinapa as these are some of the vital ingredients people of the state would wish to know.
Jake Otu Enyia commended the wisdom of the state government in the divestment but noted, “we should not just pass it because it will amount to legislative rascality; we need to put things straight because when I was Chairman of council, I contributed N180 million, so also other council areas”
The Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort was commissioned in 20007 by then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo with the aim of boosting the socio economic development of Cross River State.
Regrettably, several challenges have hampered the achievement of this objective. Over the years, Cross River State Government has explored several avenues to ensure the realisation of the objective for which Tinapa was established.
The Tinapa Free Zone and Resort has facilities for retail and wholesale activities as well as leisure and entertainment with about 80,000 square metres space for retail and wholesale, made up of four emporiums of 10,000 square metres each and smaller shops, warehouses, and so on.
It has an entertainment strip which contains a casino, digital cinema, children’s arcade, restaurants, a mini amphitheater, a night club and pubs. There is an artificial tidal lake that feeds from the Calabar River, a Water Park / Leisure Land and parking Space for about 4,000 cars.
Business facilities include an open exhibition area for trade exhibitions and other events, and a movie production studio commonly called “Studio Tinapa” or “Nollywood”. It is set to become the most modern film production studio in Nigeria. There is a 243 room international three star Hotel. The resort also has a truck terminal and gets power from an independent power plant.