… It’ll be melting point of activities in Uyo – Olumide Akinsanya
The Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre Shopping Mall will soon commence full operations with the shopping mall set to kickstart the new-look facility.
The disclosure was made by Engr. Olumide Akinsaya, the Chief executive officer of Median Construction Nigerian Development Company Limited recently, who noted that the intention is to create a world class shopping and entertainment facility, adding that from December 1, it’ll be the melting point of activities in Uyo.
He however said the December 1 official opening date is subject to the governor’s approval who is billed to grace the occasion.
“I can assure you that from the 1st of December, Ibom Tropicana will be the melting point of activities in Uyo and its environs,” he said.
Engr. Akinsaya who described Akwa Ibom as an investment destination, noted that their intention is to add value to the efforts of the state government.
He pointed out that from September 1, intending tenants will be given what he described as beneficial occupation. “This means that they can start doing their own work and arrangements with their group. And they have 90 days to do that. That is the standard practice. Some may want to change the lightings, tiles, the ceiling and other things we’ll provide. But we give them 90 days to achieve that. We’ll be ready for them by September 1.”
Engr. Akinsanya further disclosed that the governor has never interfered in what they are doing since, according to him, the venture is purely a private sector affair, adding that they have not had any challenges from the state government since they commenced work in the facility. “We have been fully supported by the governor,” he stated.
Responding to a question of how long they will run the business, he said it is a joint venture between the Akwa Ibom State Government and Tropicana Investment,
under a Public Private Partnership, (PPP) arrangement.
He said the government and the company will collapse their interest and allow the facility run purely as a limited liability company with its board of directors.
He lauded the governor’s private sector background, stating that he is the best bet to attract private sector investment and investors to the state.
Akinsanya who decried the dilapidation the facility had suffered before their arrival, said they are working round the clock to fix the problems of leaking roofs, putting up new ones where necessary and addressing other shortcomings of the facility.
He disclosed that they met less than 6000 letable area on ground of which they have optimized, remodelled and upgraded to about 9,800 metres of letable space.
Engr. Akinsanya said the government has created an enabling environment for private investments to thrive, adding that the governor has supported them immensely.
He expressed optimism that the economy will soon look up despite the challenges occasioned by the fluctuation in exchange rate. “We are locals so we will remain here untill the economy improves. We won’t run away.”
The CEO noted that the Mall has the capacity of providing about 600 direct jobs and indirect jobs thereby stimulating the state’s economy and adding value to the lives of the people. Akinsanya who said that the project is 90 percent completed, disclosed that 60 percent of the 55 shops have since been signed up, saying that 50 percent of those have been signed up by the state’s based organisations. He listed De Choice Shopping mall, Jossy International, Quinthall, Shade Cover, Med Plus, Oliver Tweest, among others as firms that have already acquired spaces in the facility.
It could be recalled that the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment Centre was a multi-million naira project commenced by the Godswill Akpabio administration in 2008 but which could not be put to full use except the Cineplex which was the only functioning part of the gigantic facility as of the time the governor left power in May of 2015.
Credit: Kenneth Jude