The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called on the federal and state governments to adjust the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) in order to include the provision of specific intervention measures for the country’s hospitality sector, which has been affected by the shocks occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
It said: “What currently exists in the ESP is only a passing mention of the sector with no prescribed specific measures and budget.”
A statement yesterday by the Director-General of the LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf, estimated the value of the hospitality sector at N1.4 trillion as of 2019 and warned that “hundreds of thousands of jobs are currently at risk if an urgent rescue plan is not put in place for the sector. This is not a sector that should be allowed to go under.”
Yusuf said the government should replicate the measures it outlined for the revival of the aviation sector for the hospitality industry since the two sectors are closely related, complementary, and interdependent.
He said: “It is in the interest of the economy for the hospitality industry to be supported by the federal and state governments to recover from the devastating shocks inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures.
“There is also the collateral adverse impact on thousands of small businesses that are dependent on the hospitality business as suppliers or service providers. Poultry and fish farmers, for instance, have lamented the impact of the downturn of the hospitality business on their sales and profitability.
The hospitality sector and restaurants are the biggest off-takers of the poultry and fish products in the economy. The food and beverage sector experienced a similar fate. The breweries and bottling companies have suffered a major hit as a result of the stumbling fortunes in the hospitality business. The sector is a one with diverse linkages across many sectors of the economy which explains the secondary transmission of the shocks to many other segments of the economy.”
The chamber proposed the provision of single-digit soft loans, with long term repayment plan, the creation of opportunities for the restructuring of existing facilities with commercial banks and concessions on interest payments, the extension of grant support including payroll support to the hospitality industry and related services, deferred payment of taxes and filing dates, among others, for the hospitality sector.