Stakeholders blame collapse of Tinapa Resort on govt. policy somersaults

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Stakeholders in Nigeria’s free trade zone have blamed inconsistencies in government policies and a lack of infrastructure for the death of Tinapa Resort in Cross River State.

FAAN has also announced that it has temporarily halted the issuance of licences to applicants for free trade zones at the country’s airports, pending the resolution of regulatory conflicts between it and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).

Participants at the first National Aviation Conferences (FNAC) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), with the theme ‘Advancing the Frontiers of Possibilities for Safe, Secure, and Profitable Air Transport,’ bemoaned Tinapa’s sorry state, which they claimed would have boosted FDIs into the country if the government had been consistent with its policies on the resort.

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Speakers on the topic of ‘Special Economic Zones at Airports and Trade Facilitation: Growing Revenue and the National GDP,’ said that government agencies needed to work together to ensure smooth growth.

Mr. Obinna Emeazo, General Manager, Vicven Integrated Services, was one of the panellists who bemoaned the massive rots in Tinapa, which he blamed on government bungling and a lack of infrastructure at the resort.

Tinapa, he claims, was intended to thrive with the approval of $5,000 in goods for local consumers, but was later reduced to $330, discouraging investors.

Emeazo lamented that the government’s policy shift had harmed the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), particularly in the area of exports.

“Tinapa Resort started well, and many investors were attracted by the benefits,” he said, “but it was later reduced to $330, which resulted in the resort’s growth dwindling.”

“Everyone, especially tourists, flock to Tinapa to shop and relax during their vacation. As a result, the government’s inconsistency is evident. You introduced policies that attracted investors and then changed them in the middle. We must make it right if they must concentrate on special economic zones. NEPZA must regain its footing and become more resilient. Strong regulations are required.

“You can’t export if you can’t manufacture.” How much do you think you’ll be able to attract? When was the last time you heard anything about Tinapa? It’s still in the early stages, and one would expect it to have progressed beyond that.”

Multiple regulations between FAAN and NEPZA, according to Emeazo, are one of the major factors slowing the growth of free trade zones in the country, and both agencies must harmonise their policies for the country’s progress.

“NEPZA must demonstrate strong leadership and be able to collaborate effectively with other agencies.”

“You have the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which is in charge of taxation; there is still a debate about the tax benefits that investors receive.” Some states continue to visit investors and demand that they pay taxes. They should be able to unite all of the states.

“You see all the government agencies on their board of directors, such as customs, the finance ministry, FIRS, and others, but you don’t see a strong stakeholder like FAAN.” FAAN will tell you that it is against its own approval at the implementation level,” he said.

FAAN’s Managing Director, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, also insisted that FAAN and other relevant authorities, such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), be represented on NEPZA’s board of directors in order to address the system’s challenges.

He halted the issuance of new licences to aspiring free trade zone applicants in airport areas until the regulatory framework’s inconsistencies are resolved.

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According to him, there are currently two free trade zone operators at the Lagos Airport, with two more companies having applied.

He explained that, as of today, all five of the country’s international airports have been designated as free trade zones, and warned that if they are not well-regulated, they could pose a significant challenge to the country in the future.

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