Anambra State Government on Monday, said it has not sealed off the construction site for the 10, 000-shop capacity Awka Capital Territory Ultra-Modern International Market at Isiagu in Awka South Council Area of the state.
The project is a tripartite investment between a private developer, JC Micheals Nigeria LTD, Anambra state government and Keystone Bank.
Under the initiative, Anambra State Government is contributing land and building access roads as its equity while Keystone Bank is providing the funding.
The project is expected to also include a hospital, fire service centre, entrepreneurship development Hub amongst other sites and services.
Last week, the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, ACTDA, a state government agency responsible for structural development in the state capital territory, had issued a stop-work order to the developer, for allegedly failing to provide building plans to it for approval.
However, when TNC correspondent questioned the developer, Mr Jude Amuzie, he insisted that all necessary approvals have been obtained from the state government and domiciled with the State Investment Protection and Promotion Agency, ANSIPPA.
Amuzie who spoke through the media consultant to the project, Mr Emma Ifesinachi, said the ACTDA action came to them as a surprise as government is a major stakeholder in the project and as such, every documentation was done in line with the required standards.
“Government is a statutory body and has procedures for doing things.
“Anambra State Government donated land for this project and also agreed to construct four roads as part of its contribution to this project.
“This project was developed and domiciled with the ANSIPPA with all the designs approved and domiciled with the ANSIPPA.
“So we are surprised that another agency of the government is coming to say that the project is sealed when it is about completing the first phase of the investment, where over 2000 shops will be ready in the next three weeks.
“It is even more worrisome that this action by the ACTDA is coming now that the state government is calling on our people to bring home their wealth and invest in the state,” he said.
Amuzie who disclosed that the investment is a muilti-billion dollar project, said his company is a responsible firm that understands what it takes to partner with the government and has met all conditions required of it.
He regretted that such actions by the ACTDA have the capacity to deter investors from bringing their wealth into the state.
The developer commended Anambra State Government for giving JC- Michaels the opportunity to invest in the state, saying the market will eradicate the culture of building markets on the streets or within the residential areas, as well as decongest the capital city which is already getting over populated.
He also said the market is also to compliment the Anambra International Airport, Umueri, revealing that a Chinese market is partnering with the JC-Michaels to facilitate the construction of the market.
“The idea is to have a Chinese market where goods will be brought in through the International Airport and sold at the market, so it is a massive project and an agency of the state government cannot be seen to be fighting the same government it is serving, by thwarting our efforts as the developer,” Amuzie said.
Meanwhile, when our correspondent took up the matter with the Managing Director of ANSIPPA, Mr Ifediora Amobi, he made it clear that the project is not in any way jeopardized, as it was envisioned by the government to boost commerce in the state.
He however revealed that there were certain requirements that the ACTDA needed from the developer for proper supervision and approval, stressing that what was done was to ask the developer to come forward with the documents.
“I had spoken with the MD of JC-Michaels and informed him of the requirements.
“However, I can’t say that we take responsibility for the action of the ACTDA but we also know that ACTDA has a duty to ensure that developments conform with standards.
“So, it was a minor altercation that can be resolved amicably and the project will progress as planned,” he said.
Amobi assured that the agency has resolved the issue and the project is still on course.
“The project is not in any danger, I believe by tomorrow, this will be resolved.
“ANSIPPA is committed to ensuring that investors who come into the state, find a favourable environment to put down their wealth and not experience all manner of encumberances.
“This is consistent with the vision of the state government to make Anambra the first-choice investment destination in Nigeria,” Amobi reiterated.