Stakeholders endorse planned mergers in tourism ministry

Posted: March 3, 2012 in travel & tourism

Reports of a planned merger of agencies within the Federal Ministry of tourism, Culture and National Orientation, especially as it affects the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOURS) have received endorsements of tourism stakeholders in the country who have described it ‘as timely and a step in the right direction in attempts at curtailing wastage.’

Making the position known exclusively to Champion Tourism, Chief executive of the Ogba Zoo & Park, in Oko-Ogba, Benin City, Edo State, Mr. Andy Osa Enahire, noted that ‘with continuous systemic appraisals and management/technical audits, more areas of wastefulness and leadership failure would unravel.’

It would also be recalled that during an interactive session with the media in Abuja last November, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, admitted that there existed staff and agencies within the ministry that had become surplus to requirement, a situation which he added, was further compounded by ill trained and unenlightened staff.

According to Enahire, the immediate past Chairman, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) Technical Committee on Tourism Facilities, Support and Allied Services, one-time Vice President of the South-South Zone, the existence of agencies like the NIHOTOUR was due to the endless tendency for government bureaucracies to continue to expand as if it were the essence or only objective.

The tourism stakeholder further posited that: “As seen in the clamour for state creation or in the proliferation of MDAs, the tendency has been to continue to sub-divide without meaningful value for national development, only to carry more overheads on executive portfolios, in which their contributions are now inversely proportional to their sizes.”

Blaming the embattled NIHOTOUR for lacking in functions to justify its continued existence, Enahire said the agency neglected the area of research and consultancy services which according to him had been overlooked as being irrelevant.

“An area of great potential relevance, which was never employed by NIHOTOUR, is in the area of research, innovation and consultancy services; but here they seem completely irrelevant and we see government spending a fortune on foreign experts,” Enahire said.

“In the case of NIHOTOUR, the main question to be answered is : Are there areas of competing parallel functions? These are not only in the Public Sector but also in the private sector. To those in need of the options, the certificate or degree from NIHOTOUR would be preferable coming from a university or even a polytechnic.

“Again, those from NIHOTOUR do not accord any additional advantage or privilege in the job market. However, most of the tourism programmes themselves have now found their way into the offerings of Universities and Polytechnics with often superior faculties. Again, private institutions have made ample forage into these programmes, with many touting affiliations with major local and even foreign institutions,” he stressed.

The tourism stakeholder however cautioned against any hasty or wholesome merger with sister agency in the ministry, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), maintaining that the level of merger should be one that gives a level of independent to the NIHOTOUR to retain its content.

“In the event of any merger with NTDC, it should be only as a unit for short refresher courses, for which resource persons would be sourced from the real sector on empirical basis – including private sector consultants, not classroom learning from expired textbooks.

“The primary courses on the other hand should be left to the Departments and Faculties of established tertiary institutions, without all the flamboyant executive overheads. It’s all about rationalization, so what is seen as imperative for Private Sector survival (goose) should also apply to the Public Sector (gander),,” he said.

Concluding, Enahire pointed out that many other agencies and parastatals ‘should actually be departments within the ministries, but they are currently established as if the country is looking for how fast money can be spent without tangible value or benefits, hence our current underdevelopment inspite of bountiful resources.’

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