COVID-19 threatens N1.4tn hospitality business, says LCCI

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the state and federal governments to rescue the nation’s N1.4tn hospitality business currently in comatose due to lockdown occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The call was made on Monday in a statement titled, ‘Mainstreaming the hospitality sector in the economic sustainability plan of the Federal and State governments,’ a copy of which was made available to NOTM.

The Director-General of the LCCI, Dr Muda Yusuf, who signed the statement, said the shocks inflicted on the sector by the COVID- 19 pandemic and the associated containment measures had been most devastating.

Yusuf said that to save the sector, there was the need for the government to mainstream the sector in the Economic Sustainability Plan, as done for other sectors.

He noted that the sector had elasticity and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs which were currently at risk due to prolonged lockdown of the sector.

He noted that the sector also played complementary roles to other sectors like the poultry, fish products, and beverage industries.

He said, “There should be specific intervention measures for the sector as done for the other critical sectors affected by the shocks of the pandemic.

“The hospitality sector in Nigeria is one of the most dynamic, innovative and fast-growing sectors of the economy before the shock of the pandemic.

“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 value of the hospitality sector in Nigeria was estimated at N1.4 trillion as at 2019.

“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. This underscores the need for the government to mainstream the hospitality sector in the Economic Sustainability Plan.

“What currently exists in the ESP is only a passing mention of the sector with no prescribed specific measures and budget.

“There should be specific intervention measures for the sector as done for the other critical sectors affected by the shocks of the pandemic.”

Yusuf suggested that the interventions should include provision of single digit soft loans, with long term repayment plan, and one-year waiver for hotel renewal fees and other state levies and fees for hotels and resorts.

He also called for the creation of opportunities for restructuring of existing facilities with commercial banks and concessions on interest payment.

He equally suggested the extension of grant support including payroll support to the sector and related services, and deferred payment of taxes and filing dates.

He equally suggested one-year waiver of local government fees and permits among others.

 

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