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COVID-19: Lagos to extend economic stimulus to tourism industry

...as practitioners agree to guidelines

The tourism and hospitality industry, one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, has been assured some stimulus by the Lagos State government to enable it bounced back soon after the pandemic.

Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, the state commissioner for tourism, arts and culture, stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting with executive members of tourism associations in Lagos on Thursday.

She said that the meeting between the government and stakeholders was organised to develop a more coordinated relationship with the practitioners in order to engender a win-win situation and provide a smooth take-off of activities in the sector in post COVID-19.

The commissioner said that the pandemic which had posed a great challenge to the collective goals of all sectors was of concern not only to members of the association but also to the state government.

She noted that the decision of government to suspend all tourism related activities for now was a painful one but also an indispensable move needed to control the spread of this virus.

“As a government, we realise that it is only when your businesses boom that the economy of the state can be more vibrant which would in turn affect positively the IGR of the government. As a result of this, be assured that we would not take decisions that would have negative impacts on your existence without due diligence,” Akinbile-Yusuf assured the practitioners.

Urging members of the association to focus on workable solutions and suggestions that would ease the resuscitation of this sector after the Covid-19 pandemic, the commissioner noted that a slow but very decisive and steady recovery process was inevitable.

“In view of this, I urge you all to bear this in mind and thread softly when the sector eventually becomes fully operational, the desire for profits must not be at the expense of the safety and life of your customers or staffs.

“I implore you not to compromise any of the operational guidelines that the ministry had already outlined and others that would still be brought to your attention in the course of our interactions.”

Speaking also at the meeting, the special adviser to the state governor on tourism, arts and culture, Solomon Bonu, said the government was considering the re-ordering of the Year 2020 budget as a way of refocusing expenditure in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to some requests by members of the tourism association, Bonu explained that similar request of palliatives had earlier been raised by owners of restaurants and some other stakeholders, stressing that the state government would consider a very suitable means of reducing the hardship which the pandemic had caused the various sectors.

“Truth is that the state government is also affected greatly by this pandemic. For instance, the price of crude oil which is one of the major sources of revenue to government has fallen drastically ditto the internally generated revenue of the state.”

He told the practitioners that rather than asking for a partial re-opening of hotel operations, they should consider the overall effect of their request on the generality of the masses, stressing that the lives and safety of the citizenry and their customers must not be compromised for any reason.

Gbenga Sunmonu, president of Federation of Tourism Association, Lagos State Chapter, who spoke on behalf of the practitioners thanked the state government for carrying them along in its decisions as it affect the tourism sector since the inception of the covid 19 pandemic.

He reaffirmed the determination of the association to always give government necessary support and respect the operational guidelines already released by the government

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