By Mohammad Tijjani
The National Hotel Association, on Tuesday appealed to the Federal Government to provide bailout funds to save hotel business in the country from extinction.
The National Secretary of the association, Mr Jijiwon Akpovwovwo, disclosed this to our corespondent in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Akpovwovwo said that apart from the difficult economic terrain inhibiting businesses, poor power supply and high cost of energy was particularly affecting hotel businesses.
“The sector is still battling with erratic power supply; the cost of electricity is very high, and in the end after paying for electricity, one is virtually left with nothing.
“This situation is pushing the hotel business into extinction.”
The Secretary said that it was important for the government to provide bailout fund for the development of the sector.
He said that tourism contributed about 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic
Product and helped generate employment.
Akpovwovwo said tourism was the “fastest developing industry in the world,” as such
Nigeria should support its development to tap maximally from the sector.
He also urged the government to grant two-year tax exemption for new hotels to
encourage more investment.
The secretary said if the Federal Government set aside N220 billion for small and medium enterprises and three million dollars for the creative industry, “the tourism sector should also be provided with such funds as bailout to develop the sector.”
According to him, the development of hotels in the country will enhance employment, reduce poverty and boost the economy.
Akpovwovwo called on private investors to tap the huge potentials of the tourism sector and advised government at all levels to diversify by developing other sources of revenue
outside the oil sector.
He said Nigeria is blessed with vast tourism potentials capable of attracting local and international investors, if the right policies were adopted.