Gov Ayade hands over Cross River cocoa processing plant to private firm
Governor Ben Ayade has concessioned the ultra-model cocoa processing plant in Ikom, Ikom Local Government Area of the state, to a private firm, AA Universal Agro Industries Ltd.
Mr Ayade said during the handover in Calabar on Wednesday that it was part of the deliberate efforts of his administration to recalibrate the state’s economy.
“Its concessioning today is geared towards recalibrating and growing Cross River’s economy; the concessioning is dictated by economic realities and not friendship,” Mr Ayade said.
He expressed optimism that the firm would immediately swing into action and get the cocoa processing plant to commence production of chocolate bars within three months.
The governor, however, warned that failure to do so would result in the revocation of the concession.
“Government expects to see chocolate bars from the company soon, and if after three months none was produced, the concession will be cancelled,” he said.
Mr Ayade said the bidding process was open and competitive and that the firm that came out tops was the only indigenous company that indicated interest and took part in the process.
Earlier, the owner of the firm, Chris Agara, said he was proud to be part of the success of the governor’s industrialisation policy.
He assured that the cocoa plant would immediately commence production.
Mr Agara urged Nigerians to look beyond oil and diversify their economic interest by going into agriculture.
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