FG, FTAN move to end multiple taxation on hotels in Nigeria

[By VICTOR NZE]

Federal Government has expressed commitment towards ending the multiple taxation regime on businesses operating in the country, especially in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).


Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hajia Ramatu Aliyu (second left) with president of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Mr. Nkereuwem Onung (right), who led a delegation comprising newly-elected executive committee and council members of the association to the office of the minister in Abuja, recently

Speaking while playing host to a delegation comprising the newly-elected executive committee and council members of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), which paid a courtesy visit to her office in Abuja, the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hajia Ramatu Aliyu, disclosed that Federal Government has also initiated moves to evolve policies that would address the issue of overlapping jurisdiction in the area of taxation.

The assurance followed an appeal raised by the hospitality operators under the aegis of FTAN, in Abuja, recently, over the multiplicity of taxes and levies on their businesses in the country by various levels of government.

President of FTAN, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, who led the delegation, had raised the alarm over multiple taxation policies enforced particularly by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) on operations of his members, as he advised on the imperative of harmonizing these tariffs and taxes to enable businesses in the FCT to grow.

Onung who explained the purpose of the courtesy visit as being, among other things, to introduce the newly-elected FTAN executives to the Minister, as well as, explore other avenues of strengthening the existing relationship established by his predecessors in the area of collaborative partnerships, acknowledged efforts of the Federal Government towards tourism development.

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He stressed the need for the FCTA to equally collaborate with the private sector to develop some of the tourism sites within the FCT, such as the Jabi Lake and others.

According to Onung, these tourists’ destinations, including cultural festivals in the FCT can be repositioned with well-designed and packaged partnerships with operators in the organised private sector of the country’s economy.

While commending the FCT Administration for approving the first-ever auto sports car race competition and for the role it played during the first track exercise in Abuja, which he described as another positive step towards raising the tourism profile of the FCT, however, appealed to the Minister for the speedy completion of the hosting process to enable the tournament take off fully.

Onung also urged the FCT Minister of State to continue to partner with FCT in facilitating hosting of the Nigerian Tourism Investors Forum and Exhibition (NTIFE), which he explained has now held 6 editions successfully so far, saying: “Together NTIFE will take Tourism to the next level of development.”

The FTAN president used the platform of the courtesy call to remind the Minister of a letter it earlier sent to her office indicating interest to partner with the FCT on developing some tourist sites within the region, noting that ‘it is important to create a wider circuit so that when people come to do business in Abuja they will have where to go. ‘

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Continuing, Onung said: “For the environment that we belong, there will be need for a tourism village, some land could be set aside for the private sector by the Federal Government.

“We could together develop this property so that anybody who comes to Nigeria will have a feel of our tourism potentials and we believe if this is given attention it will further promote our tourism perspective as a nation.”

In addition to the proposed Tourism Village initiative, the FTAN President similarly requested a Tourism House in the FCT for the Federation, while also informing the Minister of the association’s plan to host a National Tourism Summit in Abuja where, according to him, ‘all stakeholders in the sector will come together to brainstorm on the achievements, challenges and way forward in the industry.’

Responding, the Minister informed the FTAN delegation of so many plans in the pipeline for revamping the Abuja festivals, including the Mpape Crushed Rock, which she disclosed the Federal Government is already putting structures on ground ‘to develop the site to a standard that will attract both local and international tourists on daily basis to the destination.’

She, however, identified some challenges that needed to be addressed before proper development of the site will commence, to include; relocation of the residents from the area, which she said will require compensation, security, access road amongst others.

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Hajia Aliyuused the forum of the visit by the tourism operators to decry the poor level and standard of services and facilities of hospitality establishments within FCT and promised to partner with FTAN to embark on a tour to assess them, adding that the tour will also enable the delegation to discover other activities going on in the hotels.

The minister, however, joined FTAN operators in also lamenting the multiple taxation regime, which she described as ‘a burning issue that is not only affecting members of FTAN but also others doing businesses within the FCT.’

Hajia Aliyublamed the situation on double policies, assuring, however, that the issue is receiving due diligence even at the National Assembly and that the Federal Government ‘will soon come up with policies that will address the issue of overlapping jurisdiction.’

The minister gladdened the hearts of the FTAN delegation when she assigned her aide to follow up on the land request by the association with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning to ensure that the property is allocated to the group ‘within the shortest possible time.’

She further promised to collaborate with FTAN on the proposed FCT Tourism Master Plan.

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