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Cross River to rejig Carnival Calabar for bumper harvest

Assistant General Manager Operations, Tinapa, Mr. Francis Ekom; Founder/CEO, Cliqit, Mr. Gerald Konwea; Commissioner of Finance Cross River State and MD Tinapa, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong; Chief Operating Officer Cliqit, Damilola Esan and Director General, Bureau for Public, Private Partnership, Mr. Udiba Effiong Udiba at the MoU signing ceremony… in Abuja

Assistant General Manager Operations, Tinapa, Mr. Francis Ekom; Founder/CEO, Cliqit, Mr. Gerald Konwea; Commissioner of Finance Cross River State and MD Tinapa, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong; Chief Operating Officer Cliqit, Damilola Esan and Director General, Bureau for Public, Private Partnership, Mr. Udiba Effiong Udiba at the MoU signing ceremony… in Abuja

In a bid to position Calabar as a major trade hub and revive the Tinapa project, the management of Tinapa Business Resort and Cliqit, an e-commerce business management and development platform, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Tinapa, Calabar, Cross-River State, to introduce trade fair to the annual Calabar Carnival and Tinapa through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Calabar International Trade Fair (CITF).

Introducing a trade fair to the Calabar Carnival is expected to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state up to N5 billion, create up to 15, 000 jobs and 10, 000 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME’s) and empower the people of Cross-River state with skills’ acquisition and go-to market strategies and ultimately develop the state.

Cross-River State Commissioner of Finance and Managing Director (MD) of Tinapa, Mr. Asuquo Ekpenyong, at the signing of the MoU, said that “where Tinapa is today is not the ideal when Tinapa was conceived”. Ekpenyong, who has only been on the management of Tinapa for about a month, said his team has identified most of the challenges that inhibited the full blossoming of Tinapa and are ready to tackle them.

According to him, “We have gone through the blueprints; we have identified those issues that prevented Tinapa from going where it should be and we are trying to tackle those issues with detailed plans. One of the ways we think we can do that is have an international trade fair, something that would be around the period when Cross-River would be at its peak in terms of travellers. That is the week of Calabar Carnival in December.

“We have chosen that date for obvious reasons in terms of the influx of people and Calabar which should be a major trade hub isn’t where it should be. So, we have partnered with Cliqit. They will bring their experience and capacity in driving trade traffic to Tinapa and we will provide the resources”.

Ekpenyong asserted his faith in the success of the project, saying there was no infrastructural platform such as the Tinapa Business Resort in the whole of West Africa, “This platform – Tinapa Business Resort – has the capacity to host a lot of trade and businesses and we are trying to use this opportunity of the CITF to showcase the resources Tinapa has and I believe that come December 2016, we will put on a great show and something that will be worthy of repeat year-on-year”.

Founder/CEO of Cliqit, Mr. Gerald Konwea, described the project as history-making venture which is why the Guinness World Records is involved. This is going to be arguably the biggest trade fair in the world. There are big trade fairs in Germany with up to 7,000 vendors and there are even bigger trade fairs in China. To achieve this feat, we are partnering with the Guinness World Records to execute publicity internationally and prove the trade record we are trying to achieve.

“We are partnering with Red Media to handle our publicity locally and we hope to host the world as we have begun preliminary discussions with every other body and also on both state and federal levels to help us execute this project because of it’s a big project”.

According to statistics provided by Cliqit, the project is also expected to increase the IGR of the state significantly from N12.7 billion to N14.9 billion yearly by 2016 through 2019 and an additional N2 – 5 billion from 2020 onwards.

He added, “This project will also provide gainful employment of up to 7,000 and 15,000 by 2023. This can be achieved through skills’ acquisition programmes, SME empowerment and support activities and instituting Calabar as a major trade hub in the region by reviving the Tinapa project. Like I said, we are trying to host about 10,000 vendors with let us say at least one person to every vendor, or being modest, about 25,000 people and spectators expected to participate.”

The introduction of the project is coming at a time when there is much talk in the country about patronising made-in-Nigeria goods which Konwea said the trade fair would hugely promote.

Konwea said, “We are partnering with the organisers of Made-in-Aba Trade Fair and we are looking to see a lot of Nigerian creativity in December 2016.”

The trade fair isexpected to run from December 20-31.



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