FCT SDS Director and stakeholders in the hospitality industry.Photo/Remi Johnson of RadioNigeria.
All is now set for the FCT Social Development Secretariat (SDS) to commence mandatory registration and classification of all tourism and hospitality establishments in the territory.
The Mandate Secretary Of SDS, Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed-Kabir revealed this at a sensitization forum organised by the Secretariat for Owners of tourism, restaurants and hotels in Abuja, but said over 3,000 establishments had been captured in the data base from the last enumeration exercise.
Hajiya Mohammed-Kabir hinted that the tourism department of SDS has secured the Ministerial approval to immediately commence the registration and licencing, with a view to having the accurate data base of all hotels and tourism establishments in the nation’s Capital for security purposes.
She noted that the licencing would require the establishments to pay operational fee – a development that was not given due attention after the devolution of such powers from NTDC in 2013 by the Supreme Court.
“The Authority will have the power to enforce the payment of the registration fees payable by applicants as well as prescribe offences and apply penalties,”she said.
Hajiya Mohammed-Kabir added that the grading and classification exercise would help to reduce and sanitize issues of multiple taxation, levies and land contravention, as well as give room for proper control, monitoring and standardization of the industry in line with international practices.
Director of Tourism in SDS, Marie Ochonue , expressed concerns that over 3,500 hotels operating in Abuja were not officially registered, adding: “The time to get it right is now , as this will go a long way in addressing security issues that often emanate from some nameless hotels.”
The President, Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), Nkereuwem Onung, appealed to the Social Development Secretariat to deepen consultation and interface with tourism stakeholders in the territory, with a view to finding a common ground.
Reporting by Remi Johnson; Editing by Tersoo Nicholas and Tony Okerafor