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Lagos Allays Fears of Hospitality, Tourism Practitioners over 'Register-To-Open' Policy

Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf has described the agitation by some practitioners in the Hotel and Tourism sector over the newly introduced ‘Register-To-Open’ initiative of the Government as unnecessary, saying that the policy was meant to certify the safety preparedness of these establishments before they are allowed to re-open for business activities. Reacting to the claims by the practitioners through a statement issued on Friday, the Commissioner dismissed the assertions of double taxation on the practitioners, explaining that the position of the State Government was in the interest of the practitioners and safety of the citizens. She said “It has come to the knowledge of the Ministry, the fear being expressed by some practitioners in the Hospitality and Tourism sectors of the economy on possible double taxation as a result of the “Register-To-Open” directive of the State Government, through the Lagos State Safety Commission. “The Ministry hereby affirms that the ‘Register-To-Open’ order is compulsory for all hospitality and tourism sector operators in Lagos State for re-opening purposes to fill and submit”, the Commissioner added. Akinbile-Yusuf informed that the Government did not attach any payment to the process, stressing that the entire process is free and does not impose any multiple taxes on the practitioners. While noting that the registration affects all businesses operating in the State, the Commissioner maintained that the registration is purely for health, safety, planning and data purposes. She explained that the unavailability of robust data on the hotel and tourism practitioners in the State was one of the challenges faced while the government was planning to provide palliatives for genuine hoteliers and practitioners in the entertainment sector. Affirming that the government will not unnecessarily inflict any hardship on the owners of businesses in the State, Akinbile-Yusuf called on the practitioners to support the efforts to bring sanity to the industry. In her words: “Beyond every reasonable doubt, we have demonstrated our commitment to this sector in different ways, notable among our efforts to resuscitate the industry was the constitution of a committee on palliatives for practitioners in this sector”. “Apart from this, we have established a cordial relationship with the practitioners being one of our major stakeholders. For instance, in recognition of their roles towards actualisation of the Ministry’s mandate, we recently presented a 10-year Tourism Road Map to the stakeholders for their input. This speaks volumes to our willingness to always carry them along in the scheme of things”, she asserted She, therefore, urged all stakeholders to visit the registration portal and provide the required information or contact the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture at Alausa, Ikeja, in case of further clarification. Recall that Hoteliers in Lagos State in their reactions to the introduction of the ‘Register-To-Open’ initiative, called on the government to jettison the proposal regarding the reopening of hotels under the policy. The practitioners, under the platform of Hotel Owners and Managers Association of Lagos (HOMAL), said its members are not willing to be subjected to rigorous, bureaucratic and cost-laden reopening exercise.



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