ABUJA- The Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA) has urged the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to establish a stand-alone Ministry of Tourism, to strengthen the regulations of the hospitality industry.
The President of HOFA, Mrs Funmi Kazeem, gave the advice on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Kazeem said that having a stand-alone Ministry of Tourism would help the Federal Government to strengthen regulations of the hospitality industry to checkmate crimes in the sector, especially in hotels.
“Proper regulation of the hospitality sector would checkmate crimes in the sector, especially in hotels. Though there are criminals everywhere and crimes are not only committed in hotels but outside hotels.
“As a matter of fact, crimes happen in hotels. And in some occasions, we have been able to identify these people. In our hotels, HOFA members have CCTV cameras.
“For instance, part of what we talked about at AIG office yesterday was security especially yahoo boys who come to lodge in hotels.
“Some hotels hide under the guise of no proper regulations to harbour criminality because they don’t have names on them and they are hotels,’’ she said.
According to her, the concept of freedom of association is good but there is need for all hotels to be under an association to ensure that they do not cut corners.
“If government can make it in such a way that every hotel is well regulated, the issue of criminality will reduce.’’
The HOFA President said her association had about 300 members out of a thousand hotels in the FCT.
She alleged that the remaining 700 hotels had refused to become members of HOFA because they were avoiding tax, adding that “they don’t have names and identities.
“They don’t pay tax. Federal Inland Revenue Service does not know them and they make more money; and people prefer to go there because they feel they are hidden.
“ People know hotels under HOFA and we don’t want our names to be mentioned with evil.
“I think the Federal Government can do a lot by regulating us; and that is the reason why we are asking for a Tourism Ministry where we will be properly regulated,’’ she said. (NAN)