Nigerian Senate moves to remove tourism from Information/Culture ministry

Posted: August 22, 2017 in general
Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information & Culture, Lai Mohammed

By VICTOR NZE

The Senate has disclosed it was working toward separating tourism and culture from the Ministry of Information.

President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, made this known at the opening of a public hearing on the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Act 2004 (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill, 2017.

Saraki, who was represented by the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Sen. Bala Na’Allah, said that the separation was imperative to enable the tourism sector enjoy autonomy for rapid development.

“Our ministries have never been helpful in anything developmental. So, the long and short of the story is that the Senate wants to give freedom to the parastatals, particularly the culture and tourism sector,’’ he said.

Remarking, Chairman of Senate Committee on Tourism, Sen. Matthew Urhoghide, said that investment in tourism was very crucial in view of the dwindling government revenue and the current recession, adding that diversifying the economy was imperative following the contraction in the country which was occasioned by the fall in crude oil prices.

Urhoghide who said that the NTDC Act had never gone through any form of review or amendment since it was enacted, in spite of several years of socio-political and economic changes, explained that one of the things the NTDC Bill would achieve was to abolish the existing Act and re-enacted a fresh one, just as he further explained that the re-enactment, when concluded, would change the nomenclature of the establishment to Nigerian Tourism Development Authority.

Meanwhile, proprietors of hotels in Nigeria, who attended the public hearing, have appealed to the Senate to save them from multiple taxes by state and local government councils across the country.

President, Hotel Owners’ Forum, in Abuja, Dr Chike Ezeudeh, who led the group said hotel business in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had become difficult because of taxes, just as he expressed practitioners’ support for moves by the senate to empower NTDCto harmonise all tax collections.

He said that they were subjected to over 30 different levies by the FCT authorities and the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

“My brother from Ondo State said one of the levies his hotel paid yearly to the multiple tax collectors in the state is N7.5 million but that is more like a chicken change here in FCT. We are levied N29 million, N20 million, N15 million and so on, on yearly basis by the various tax collectors.

“This is the reason we are kicking against the one per cent-per-room levy proposed in the bill, although we strongly support the move to empower NTDA as sole collector of taxes from hotels,’’ he said.

For a hotelier from Ondo State, Mr Olafemi Egbodofo, the tax situation in the state was unbearable.

According to him, since the Supreme Court ruling of 2013, which empowered states and local government councils to collect levies, not less than 15 different bodies have been collecting different forms of tax from hotels, even as he explained that one of the levies was as high as N8 million annually.

“This is suffocating and killing because the multiple taxation has landed many of us in very uncomfortable position as it is difficult to pay salaries and even remain in business,’’ he said.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s