The Chief Executive Officer, Maranatha Hotel, Dr. Etofolam Osuji, has urged the Imo State Government to reduce the arbitrary taxes imposed on hoteliers in the state, stressing that this would help them to continue in business and be able to contribute meaningfully to the economy of the state and reduce the rate of unemployment.
Osuji, who made the call in Imo state at a media briefing organised by the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) South east Secretariat, said it is unfortunate that government has not engaged them at the level where they would bring value to the people.
He pleaded with the state government to provide hoteliers and business enterprises in the state the enabling environment for their businesses to thrive, especially by ensuring steady electricity supply.
The Marantha CEO expressed the hoteliers’ desire to partner the government in developing the state, adding that if government provides the level playing for hoteliers and business owners, it would address unemployment in the state.
He however added that the hoteliers are inundated with anti-tourism policies, despite their desire to promote the tourism potential of the state in an environment that is highly conducive for such activity.
He stressed: “Government should provide us with the enabling environment to do business by giving us steady electricity. Government should remove taskforce from us, we pay our taxes. The levies they place on hoteliers are too much. But these monies should come in a structured manner. I want a situation where I will partner with the government in developing the state in such a way that everyone will benefit. I want a situation unemployed youths are fully engaged. We need to partner with government to make sure that we drive the vision for them.
“The charges are arbitrary. Due to the high taxation, you are not able to break even, so what you do is to continue to manage the debt profile especially when have guests patronising you. In the area of tourism, if the parameters are well set it means that this state will be ranked number one as the best in leisure destination in Nigeria.
It implies that every year you evaluate yourself to find out if you are achieving what you set out to achieve. If the answer is that you are not achieving it, you find the challenge within that structure, work on those challenges and bring in stakeholders in the sector will help to change things.”