…As Sector Comes Under N1.4 Trillion Investment Threat
The debilitating effect of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be taking a negative toll on the hospitality sector as the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), yesterday warned that about N1.4 trillion investment in the industry was under severe threat.
LCCI Director General, Mr.Muda Yusuf, , in a statement on Monday, said hundreds of thousands of jobs are currently at risk unless urgent rescue plans are 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 [ESP]. There should be specific intervention measures for the sector as done for the other critical sectors affected by the shocks of the pandemic.
The chamber lamented that what currently exists in the ESP is only a passing mention of the sector with no prescribed specific measures and budget.
To address the gaps in the ESP, LCCI boss proposed that measures outlined for the revival of the aviation sector [and more] should be replicated for the hospitality industry, adding that the two sectors are closely related, complementary and interdependent.
Some of the measures proposed by LCCI included; provision of single digit soft loans, with long term repayment plan, creation of opportunities for restructuring of existing facilities with commercial banks and concessions on interest payments.
Others are extending grant support including payroll support to the industry and related services, deferred payment of taxes and filing dates, one-year waiver of Land Use Charge and LASAA Advertisement Rates [Applicable to Lagos State], one year waiver for Hotel Renewal Fees and other state levies and fees for Hotels and Resorts, one-year waiver of Local Government fees and Permits and clear mandate to the Federal Ministry of Tourism and its state counterparts to ensure the realization of the foregoing deliverables.
The chamber stated that the hospitality sector is a labour intensive sector and therefore has employment elasticity because the shocks inflicted on the sector by the COVID- 19 pandemic and the associated containment measures have been most devastating on the sector, stating that a complementary sector of the economy, the aviation sector – was equally negatively impacted.
‘‘There is also the collateral adverse impact on thousands of small businesses that are dependent on the hospitality business as suppliers or service providers.