• Says Lai Mohammed too busy to talk tourism
Posted by JUSTOURS
Due to the growing importance of tourism, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has once again charged President Muhammadu Buhari to “delineate, prioritize and fund a new Federal Ministry of Tourism in Nigeria”, saying that the sector will help to reduce poverty in the country. The umbrella association of the organised private sector tourism, insisted that the Minister of Information of Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed is too preoccupied with the enormity of managing matters relating to information, and has no time for tourism sector policy promotion.
FTAN and other tourism stakeholders have since 2015, when Tourism was downgraded in the current structure of the Ministry of Information and Culture, called for a return of the full-fledged ministry
The President of FTAN, Alhaji Saleh Rabo made this call when the new Director of Domestic Tourism at the Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Opakiriti Josephine Nzobiwu, visited him FTAN headquarters in Asokoro Abuja, recently. FTAN council members announced that they are resolved to engage the Office of the President in this matter. They pointed out that since the beginning of the APC government at the federal level, the tourism sector had not received any significant business friendly palliative, not even in the much touted Ease of Doing Business policy
Better still, the operators said the current Information and Culture Ministry can, at least, have two concurrent Permanent Secretaries, since the Minister will be too busy because of the sheer size of his portfolios.
Nzobiwu has just been redeployed from the Federal Ministry of Transport in Abuja. On her maiden meeting with FTAN Council members at their Secretariat, she assured the Federation of her commitment to involve the organised tourism private sector in the scheduled programs and events of her department at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Domestic Tourism Director also assured FTAN members that she would periodically seek inputs of tourism business operators in advising the Minister over future domestic tourism programs and events. Mrs. Nzobiwu said her personal travels to some international tourist destinations revealed that Nigeria’s tourism economy can be sustainably developed if the private sector is sensitized to invest in the industry.
FTAN President lamented that the current nomenclature of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture without Tourism, is a disservice to the sector and sad reflection of the non-committal policy of the federal government towards tourism business development in Nigeria. Alhaji Rabo reiterated that the current Ministry of Information and Culture is too big for one Minister to supervise.
Some FTAN Council members present at the meeting echoed the FTAN President’s lamentation and further posited that, in the light of the impending cabinet reshuffle by President Buhari, following his recent re-election for a second term, a substantive Minister of Tourism should be appointed. They explained that it is better to have a junior a Minister of State for Tourism than to have none. FTAN members therefore called for a delineation akin to the current Ministry of Aviation, which has a Minister
The new Director of Domestic Tourism was accompanied on her familiarization visit to FTAN Secretariat by Mrs. Narayi, the Deputy Director of Domestic Tourism, and one other senior official of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
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