The President of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Chief Tomi Akingbogun has revealed that hotel charges in Nigeria are about the highest in the whole world. “People have complained that Nigerian hotel room rates are about the highest in the whole world, when you look at the services that are given”, he said.
He made the assertion at the inauguration of FCTA Entertainment and Event Centre Fee. The event was to announce the commencement of collection of various fees called “Entertainment/Event Fee Act” from tourism investors. The act stipulates that those to pay the fees are any person, corporate body or otherwise who; A- pays for the use or possession of any hotel, facility or event center or; B- purchases consumable goods or services in hotels, restaurants, parks, gardens, cinemas, event centers, night clubs, bars etc. within FCT or; C- subscribes to any of the pay TV and internet/GSM entertainment platforms within FCT.
Chief Akingbogun noted that it is the responsibility of the government to make laws but they have to consult with the private sector. He said that introduction of the new act entails new bills for investors in the industry. He told newsmen that hoteliers in FCT are over taxed and the new fees will put his members in a tight corner. “A typical hotel has over twenty bills to pay. These are outside power, water and things like that. They are sign boards, liquor license, business premises, if you are playing music, if you are baking bread etc., there are charges for them”, he explained.
In his goodwill message at the event, the Vice Chairman of HOFA, Chief Dr. Chike C. Ezeudeh corroborated Chief Akingbogun by saying that the management of FCT did not consult with stakeholders before enacting the new act. When asked if his association will challenge the act in a court, he admitted that their members are law abiding and ought to have been consulted for their input before public pronouncement of the new act. He observed that the new fees will deplete their earnings as they are not going to transfer it to their customers. “If you add extra kobo to your charges, you will lose your customers, so the fee is charged on the meager profits of the operators”, he explained.
The goodwill message of Chief Ezeudeh made the management of FCT uncomfortable that the Director of Economic Planning, Research and Strategy, Mohammed Isah mounted the podium to refute the statement. He said that every stakeholder was duly contacted from the word go. He then asked why the stakeholders were at the event if they were not part of the whole plan. To this, the Head of Admin HOFA, Okany Chinwe told our reporter that some of their members got invitation from FCT only yesterday.
The act is expected to have been in effect since last year. Meanwhile HOFA members are not saying they will not comply but they need to be carried along where matters concerning them are being discussed.