Lagos Says It Loses Over N4 billion Tourism Revenue To Federal Government
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said though it lost close to N4 billion in revenue to the illegal regulations of hotels in the State by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in the last six years, last Fridayâs judgement of the Supreme Court on the issue has now provided the State Government the opportunity to reposition the tourism industry.
The State Commissioner for Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Oladisun Holloway who stated this at a press briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa to appraise the ruling which vested the control of Tourism and Hotel Regulation on States Houses of Assembly reiterated that the state would use the landmark judgement to reposition the tourism sector rather than focus on the revenue it would make from it.
âI must stress that this whole thing isnât meant to make money or how much the state will make. Specifically, our main interest is to structure the performance of the industry rather than how much we intend to gainâ, he added.
While commending the judgement, the Commissioner explained that it would greatly help address the ambiguities and uncertainties in the hospitality industry and would boost investorsâ confidence in the tourism sectorâ.
âIt is my belief that the Supreme Court decision can only deepen the tenets of federalism and serve to eradicate the multiplicity of regulations within the sector. We shall however continue to partner with investors and other stakeholders in the development and standardization of the tourism and leisure services sector in the Stateâ, he said.
According to Mr Holloway, the N4Billion represented the revenue that would have accrued to the state from hotel licensing, grading and other functions which the NTDC usurped since 2007.
“We stopped collecting funds from the NTDC or sharing funds with NTDC in July, 2007. And in Lagos for instance we believe that we have on the average about 3, 000 outlets. The big ones may be about 20, the mid-range and the smaller ones. But if we were to take an average of registration fee which is about N250, 000 in a year multiplied by 3, 000 and multiply that by 6, that is, the number of years that we stopped collecting fund from the NTDC, one will come up with about N3.75 billion. But again that isnât the main focus to the state governmentâ, the Commissioner said.
He informed that the state has also engaged many private organizations in leisure and resort development to fashion out a template for the rapid transformation of the tourism sector towards enhancing wealth generation and job creation opportunities for the benefit of the people, stakeholders and investors.
He appealed to the over 3000 hotels and other hospitality establishments yet to register with the state government to reconsider their stance because their compliance with the provisions of the Lagos State Licensing (Amended) Law 2010 is a requirement for operating in the state.
Mr Holloway urged the NTDC to go back to its real function of managing tourist traffic in the country through effective information management and tourism promotion programmes.
It would be recalled that a panel of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, led by Justice Suleiman Galadima, had on Friday unanimously ruled that it was only State Houses of Assembly that could make laws on tourism or the licensing and grading of hotels and other hospitality establishments.
The court said the 1999 Constitution only empowered the National Assembly to regulate tourist traffic, âa term which does not include hotels grading and licensingâ.
It validated both the Hotel Licencing Law of Lagos State (as amended), and Hotel Occupancy and Consumption Law, declaring as null and void the conflicting sections of the NTDC Act.
This was after the Lagos State Government and the Federal Government had approached the Courts over the question of proper authority to license and grade hospitality establishments.
While the Federal Government sought to pursue these functions through the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Lagos State Government had always insisted that it was a usurpation of State functions and that the NTDC Law became null and void once the 1999 Constitution came into effect.