Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River says private sector’s participation is key to the economic growth of the state.
The governor stated this during the ground-breaking of Indigo Hotels in Calabar on Wednesday.
Ayade, who described the state as an investors’ haven, pledged his government’s continued efforts at attracting investors to the state.
He commended Mr Manoj Jagtiani, the Chief Executive Officer of the Hotel, for opting to invest in Cross River.
“There is no doubt that Indigo Hotels will not only boost tourism in our state but also create employment for our people.
“We will continue to create the conducive environment for private investments in Cross River; the state remains an investors’ haven.
“This hotel is bringing something very special. We can’t be saying Cross River, and indeed Calabar, is the centre of tourism in Nigeria when we don’t have a hotel that we can identify as a five-star hotel.
“A lot of investors coming in will start looking for where to sleep. I have a special regard for my dear friend, Mr Jagtiani, who thought it necessary to invest in Cross River,” Ayade said.
The governor, however, appealed to the management of Indigo Hotels to stick to the seven-month’s completion target for its Calabar branch.
He urged the company to also consider setting up branches in the Northern and central parts of the state.
Earlier in his address, Jagtiani, a Sri Lankan, said the management of Indigo Hotels was grateful to the governor for allowing the company to expand its business to Cross River.
“This dream would not have come to reality without the special efforts of the governor and all parties involved,” Jagtiani said.
He said he chose to invest in Cross River “because of its hospitality, its warm and friendly people and because Cross River is the safest state in Nigeria.”