By David Augustine
Median Construction Development Nigerian Limited, the major investors at the Ibom Tropicana Mall has assured the government and people of Akwa Ibom State that the Ibom Tropicana Mall billed to commence business in December 2020, will be of world class standard. The assurance was given by the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Olumide Akinsanya, while conducting journalists around the mall in Uyo.
Engr. Akinsanya said that his company as partners to Akwa Ibom State Government in the development of the Ibom Tropicana Mall, under a Public Private Partnership, ( PPP ) arrangement, is saddled with the responsibilities of redesigning and remodeling the complex into a functional mall with the additional mandate to occupy and manage the facilities. He noted that the State governor had since August 2015, mandated his firm to remodel the mall and bring in an Anchor investor to the mall. Shoprite was then the choice anchor, for which a ground breaking was performed. He, however, hinted that the worsening exchange rage of the Naira made it less attractive for foreign investors, hence the resort to sourcing funds and investors locally.
He announced that Market Square has been selected as the anchor investor based on their experience and track record in mall management.
While commending the investment wizardry of the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Engr Akinsanya stated that it was the effort of the governor that made Ibom Tropicana the only mall in Nigeria indexed in Naira. He stated that the indexing of the mall in Naira is a significant signpost of Akwa Ibom, under Gov. Emmanuel achievement in ease of doing business.
The Mall, which is 90 per cent complete, already has 60 per cent of its 55 shops signed up; with 50 per cent of the stores taken up by mainly Akwa Ibom State based organizations. Among notable firms signed up are Choice Mall, Oliver Twist, Jossy International, Quinthall, Shade Cover, Med Plus, etc. The CEO Median Construction Development Nigerian Limited, said that Ibom Tropicana Mall would be the cheapest in rental price per square meter in Nigeria, with a Square meter going for as low as N5,400 per Square meter.
The Mall, which was commissioned by the Akpabio administration at the twilight of the administration was largely uncompleted, with less than 5,000 square meters of space, has been upgraded, remodeled and completed into a 9,800 Square meters of letable space. To achieve this, the investing company went into extensive repairs, restructuring and expansion, with the entire 3,000 square meters of space to be occupied by the anchor tenant, constructed from the scratch.
When fully functional, Engr. Akinsanya said that the mall will provide 600 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs and help stimulate enormous economic activities in the state.
The Ibom Tropicana Mall is one of the components of a multi-billion naira massive leisure and business complex, which the Akpabio administration started in 2008, with a promised completion period of 12 months. As the time the Akpabio administration ended in 2015, the entertainment center only had the Cineplex functioning. Even though the administration “commissioned” the mall, the facility was far from being completed for occupation and commencement of business.