Oyin Aminu, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised tourism investors a mimimum tarriff on imported tourism equipments to serve as an attractive investment incentives for investors in the tourism sector.
Buhari made the call at the opening ceremony of the 61st meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Regional Commission for Africa (UNWTO-CAF) in Abuja on Monday and
Represented by the secretary general of the federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, buhari said “this government has attractive investment incentives for investors in the tourism ranging from: Pioneer status to all major tourism projects; Minimum tariff on imported tourism equipment, amusement park equipment and materials for hotel construction and furnishing, dedicated transportation for tour operators and equipment for restaurants not manufactured in Nigeria; Minimum duty on Casino equipment; Work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills within the industry; and Land at concessionary rate by state governments to tourism investors.
Boss noted that the importance of tourism and its potentials to national economies cannot be overemphasized. Tourism, as it contributes to the wealth of nations and the well-being of citizens, largely through foreign exchange earnings, generation of revenue, creation of employment, knowledge, cultural integration as well as increase the GDP of the country.
“We are making steady efforts to diversify the economy through agriculture, solid minerals development and tourism. We are also investing heavily in infrastructure to promote tourism. This administration has injected about US$9 billion to strengthen its investment in power, roads and railway in the past two years alone.
“Also, this government is investing in Social Investment Programme (SIP) to promote human capital development which has benefitted over 9 million people. These programmes include our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme that is providing one meal a day to 7.4 million pupils in 22 states of the Federation; N-Power programme that has employed 200,000 university graduates and is about to employ 300,000 more; the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) under which some 297,973 poor homes are receiving 5,000 Naira monthly; and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) that has provided loans to hundreds of thousands of small business owners,” Boss said
He went further to say the Government is deepening the legislative and institutional capacities for the protection of intellectual property rights in Nigeria, so all investors will have assurance of security of their rights especially in the creative industry and urged the tourists and investors in the tourism sector to consider Nigeria their home.
Adding that the government is committed to providing Public safety and security to all Nigerians, investors and tourists. Government is also investing a lot of resources into building the inventory of equipment and capacity of security agencies to keep the country safe.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed in his opening renarks said the theme of this year’s meeting, “Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development,” is quite apt and timely as Nigeria is witnessing giant strides in the development of viable and sustainable
alternatives to oil and gas.
He said with the abundant natural resources,vibrant culture, interesting history, predominance of tourist products, large population and the hospitable disposition of her people, Nigeria is currently recognized as one of Africa’s leading economies and emerging market by World Bank.
“Tourism has become an important sector of the economy for many
member states, especially as an important source of foreign exchange
earnings, employment generation and income creation, in addition to
encouraging infrastructural development and poverty reduction. For us
in Nigeria, it is one of the sectors we have identified as very key to
our economic diversification agenda. The sustained growth of the
tourism industry illustrates how this all-important sector, with its
added advantage of infinitude, can assist member states’ economies to reap the benefits of globalization.
“This meeting, therefore, provides an excellent opportunity to
discuss ways and means to promote intra-Africa travels and tourism,
leveraging on our vast and unique resources and our number, for mutual
benefit to all member states. It is my expectation that this meeting
will also serve as a platform towards establishing stronger linkages
and functional collaboration among member states in order to realize
the potentials with which the continent is endowed with.
“On our part, as a country, we are doing everything possible to
move the Tourism Sector into the mainstream of the economy. Realizing
that modern infrastructure is critical to tourism development, we are
investing heavily in the development of infrastructure. In the last
two years alone, we have spent an unprecedented 9 billion US Dollars to
build roads, standard railways and power. The investment is showing, as we have raised our power generation from 2,690 to 7,000MW, while road
construction is going on in every of the country’s 36 states,” mohammed said
He explained that the meeting has also provided Nigeria the opportunity to test her Visa On Arrival policy, which is part of the Buhari’s administration efforts to boost tourism in particular, as many delegates received their Visas on arriving Nigeria.
“We are also providing enabling environment and incentives; Strong
public and private sector collaboration; Enabling laws for the
preservation and protection of cultural heritage; Involvement of local
communities leading to the overall economic development of the areas;
Specific action plans including capacity building of the various
stakeholders and development of tourism statistics and Tourism
Satellite Account (TSA), among others.
“We have also dusted up and updated the Nigeria Tourism
Development Master Plan, which is currently being implemented. This
document aims at achieving, among others, the restructuring of the
existing Tourism Development Institutions for them to effectively
deliver the benefits of tourism; Raising the awareness and
understanding of the benefits of tourism in the society; as well as
reviewing environmental degradation and protection of Nigeria’s
physical and historical assets. The implementation of the Tourism
Master Plan focuses on institutional capacity-building, product
development, tourism facilitation/promotion and marketing, with a view
to making Nigeria a preferred destination,” Muhammed explained.
The UNWTO secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili on his path aplaud president Buhari’s recognition that tourism can be as crucial to Nigeria’s economic future as natural resources and said what is required is the political will to make happen and achieve the goals of the global tourism community.
He equally thanked the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammef for using tourism to increase public sector participation in Nigeria’s economy, adding that there is a need to build tight links between public and private sectors for tourism to transform growth across the continent , and to the benefit of its people.
He went further by thanking the Minister of FCT, Mohammef Bello for over seeing the improvement in infrastructure, security and transport in the FCT and appreciatef Aliko Dangote for his passionate support of poverty alleviation through tourism which has a positive direct and indirect impact on reducing poverty and inequality around the world.
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