Onne Ports Authority faustrates business at Tinapa

Foreign and local investors in Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, Calabar, have condemned in strong terms the illegalities by the Nigeria Customs in Onne port, Rivers state, by stopping the processing of investors’ consignments on transit to Tinapa Free Trade Zone.
Tinapa was initiated by the Cross River state government, as a way to boost business and tourism in the state, with over $350 million spent on initial development and its first phase commissioned in 2007, having facilities for retail and wholesale activities as well as leisure and entertainment, Tinapa was seen as another business haven for Nigerians.
However, six years after the first commissioning which was primarily to boost employment and generate revenue for the state and the country at large, the tale is a different one.
In an outburst of emotions, the investors disclosed that for over the years now, rather than building confidence from the trade partners, the reverse is the case.
Investors described the development as a unilateral act by Customs which is against the letter of the gazetted law that sets up Tinapa as a Free Trade Zone, a gross violation of international shipping regulations and they are appealing to the Federal Government to step in and correct these illegalities.
The investors in an outburst of emotions were speaking at the premises of the resort which is gradually becoming a shadow of its own in Calabar, the Cross River state capital.
They disclosed that, they are faced with loss of suppliers’ confidence, inability to honour letters of credit hinged upon receipt of goods, loss of revenue occasioned by the limited shelf life of some of the goods, psychological and emotional trauma occasioned by the activities of Customs as it insists that, investors pay duty on goods transiting to Tinapa.
The representative of the MD Tinapa, Paul Eko disclosed that, the matter has been tabled before the state government and are awaiting governments’ response which he believes won’t tarry.