The Navy Officers Wives Association (NOWA), has begun the construction of 1,176 departmental stores and open stalls in Port Harcourt.
The President of NOWA, Hajiya Nana Gambo inaugurated the ground breaking of the NOWA International Shopping Mall in Borokiri area of Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the market would be equipped with 240 open stalls, 936 shop en-suite, 16 warehouses, one abattoir and one veterinary clinic among others.
Gambo said the project would be built on 3.675 hectares of land, and would serve more than 16 coastal and inland communities in the area.
“The mall will be equipped with facilities like commercial retail shops, offices, open market stalls, abattoirs, banking halls, warehouses, administrative offices and a clinic.
“The open stalls are categorised in types, with Type A allocated for perishable products consisting of 168 units of single unit shops and Type B for live animals consisting of three units shops.
“Other facilities are a cold room for storage of perishables; canteens consisting of three unit shops and fire service facility, among others,” she said.
The NOWA president, who is the wife of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, said the market would also be equipped with a jetty facility.
“The jetty will avail 16 coastal communities having water bodies within the area to have access to the market.
“The inauguration of the shopping mall is a culmination of the need to provide a world class reputable avenue for businesses to thrive in our localities.
“The mall when completed will offer a wide range of benefits, including products being available in one space; prevent unnecessary search for goods at various points, among others,” she said.
Gambo said the project conceptualised to be among the best in the country would be driven through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.
She said each intending shop and stall owner would pay 30 per cent of the cost of one shop or stall into their account opened in the Mortgage Guarantee Programme (MGP).
According to her, the MGP will cover 70 per cent cost of the shop and stall on behalf of each shop holder for an agreed period.
The Managing Director of Request Oil and Gas Limited, Chinedu Okonkwo said the project would be completed in 18 months.
Okonkwo, who is the financier of the project, said the mall on completion would revolutionise wholesale and retail business in Rivers and environs.
“In addition, the mall will add value and boost economic activities in the communities and state at large,” he said. (NAN)