Alhaji Rabo Saleh, National President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN) has called on the Federal Government to come up with a national policy on ‘Cultural Tourism’ to boost the sector.
Saleh said this on Tuesday at the 5th Edition of Nigeria Tourism Investors Forum and Exhibition (NTIFE) in Abuja, with the theme: “An Insight into the Legal Framework of Tourism in Nigeria”.
Saleh said that domestic and international tourism experts have concluded that cultural tourism was Nigeria’s most competitive tourist product, if properly harnessed.
“Nigeria is a promising African tourism destination, therefore, there should be no dichotomy between ‘culture’ and ‘tourism’.
“Culture and Tourism departments in government ministries should work as a team to sell Nigeria to inbound tourists.
“Other countries, like Turkey and China have recently been investing in cultural tourist products with enviable success,” he said.
The FTAN president urged Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and other stakeholders to utilise the opportunities to put Nigeria on the global tourism map.
He added that this could be achieved by the diversification of the economy through cultural tourism products that would attract inbound forex spending tourists, also by promotion of domestic tourism to create business.
“State governments are the natural custodians of most tourist sites because the sites are all local.
“Mapping out tourism development zone at the Local Government level, provision of tourist facilities such as access roads, facilitating land acquisition for tourism investors should be put into consideration,” he said.
He called on the government, both federal and state to analytically look at the Nigeria’s tourism map and build up a motor-able road that would lead to and fro tourist destinations in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Mr Samuel Alabi, Chairman, FTAN Board of Trustees, appealed to the FG to allocate land to FTAN for tourism to flourish.
Alabi, also a former president of FTAN, added that allocating land to the association would help tourism development in Nigeria.
The event attracted personalities from the Federal Ministry of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Orientation Agency as well as stakeholders in the tourism sector, among others.
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ifeyinwa Omowole
Ekiti conducive for tourism investment – Gov. Fayemi’s aide
Wale Ojo-Lanre, Senior Special Assistant on Tourism Development to Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, has urged intending investors to visit the state as it remains conducive for investment.
Ojo-Lanre made the call while hosting Ayo Olumoko, Vice-President, South West, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), who led the newly elected members of the Executive Council of FTAN, Ekiti Chapter on a courtesy call in Ado Ekiti.
He said that Ekiti Government was ready and willing to reinforce, assist, support, cooperate and collaborate with FTAN at making sure that the state reaped bountifully and participate judiciously in the global tourism economy.
Ojo-Lanre noted that Gov. Fayemi had planted his name in the tourism history of Ekiti as the most tourism-friendly governor.
He added that throughout his two terms, he had placed Ekiti tourism in the front burner of global relevance and reference.
“Fayemi has created a conducive environment for tourism activities and investment to blossom and thrive.
“Fayemi has within the last 12 months, resuscitated the hitherto moribund Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture and recreated Ekiti State Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism.
“He also appointed a new Commissioner, initiating the legal framework on tourism and also appointed a Senior Special Assistant on tourism development.
“All these are testimonies of his vision at ensuring that tourism economy grows and blossoms in Ekiti,” Ojo-Lanre said in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday.
The senior special assistant said that Fayemi, being a cosmopolitan person believed that tourism was better driven by the private sector.
He noted that the governor was doing everything humanly possible at ensuring a conducive atmosphere for the private sector to reap the dividends of tourism in Ekiti.
Ojo-Lanre said because of these and other factors, the state government heartily welcomed the birth and berth of FTAN in the state as it would spearhead the growth of a solid tourism economy in the state.
He applauded Olumoko for his proactive strides and tenacity of purpose since his election as FTAN vice-president.
In his response, Olumoko commended Gov. Fayemi whom he described as a purpose-driven governor with a heart and soul of getting the best for his people.
He said, “Of all the states in the South-West, Fayemi has distinguished himself as a tourism-friendly governor who understood the import and essence of a fully developed tourism economy.
“I am also confident that with these seasoned and experienced men and women in the industry, Ekiti is set to make a statement in the comity of tourism states,” he said.
Olumoko presented the Executive Council of FTAN in Ekiti chapter as: Dr Oluwole Ajayi, Tourism Management, Special Adviser; Dr Abioye Adedipe, Tourism and Hospitality, Coordinator; Mr Jide Fajuyi, Secretary; Mr Deolu Oyebode, Mobilisation, Communication and Marketing.
Others were: Kolapo Temitope, Assistant MCM; and Busayo Owajoba, State Treasurer.
He noted that these were those who would run the affairs of the association in Ekiti.
He canvassed for a symbiotic relationship between FTAN and the Ekiti State Tourism Development, saying that with a synergy of purpose between the two, tourism business in Ekiti would gain some improvements.
Olumoko noted that FTAN was the only recognised umbrella platform for all tourism and hospitality associations and operators in Nigeria.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Expert says COVID-19 provides Nigeria opportunity to invest, improve health sector financing
He said that for over a decade Nigeria had invested less than five per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.
The financial expert said that with improved health sector financing, strengthening accountability mechanisms and public-private partnerships, Nigeria would be better prepared for future emergencies.
“Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with an avenue to evaluate the way we have been doing things.
”It has also provided us with an opportunity to re-assess the government’s preparedness to address future pandemics,” he said.
Eziukwu said it was imperative that health policymakers took advantage of the pandemic to improve health financing mechanisms, correlation between health and economic growth and increased attention to disease prevention.
He said larger impact of the pandemic could be broadly grouped a national health emergency.
He said that this was because of its rate of spread and the diversion of human and financial resources from other critical health challenges such as Ebola, Malaria and .
Eziukwu said that coronavirus could overwhelm the health system in little time as was currently the case in Nigeria and other affected countries.
He further said that the neglect of other health challenges could lead to loss of already gained grounds in the fight against them.
He said that the economic challenge presented by the pandemic could be quite devastating particularly for emerging economies in Africa.
“However, the continent can be said to be worst hit considering other factors.
“One key factor is the mono-primary commodity export in most African countries, of which price falls will lead to a great loss of income in these countries.
“Another factor is the dominant informal sector in the economies.
“Contrary to what is obtainable in Western economies, African economies are still very nascent with the majority of its citizens operating in the informal sectors,” he said.
Eziukwu, said that the approach of locking down the economy had caused hardship to many citizens, adding that the limited fiscal policy had also contributed to the hardship the citizens were experiencing.
“Many African countries have high debt to revenue ratios, of which a reduction in commodity prices will be unable to meet the basic operating and administrative costs.
“Also, there is limited health insurance in emerging economies which leads to high out-of-pocket health expenditure and these have further increased poverty rates,” he said.
Eziukwu said that some of the most hit areas of the economy during this pandemic were foreign reserves and currency values.
“Many emerging countries’ 12 months forward price is trading at approximately 50 per cent reduction when compared with the United States dollars and other currencies.
“It is reported that the Naira is currently trading at over N500 to a dollar in the foreign exchange market.
“This is an over 42 per cent reduction when compared with the currency’s trading average of N360 before the pandemic,” he said.
Eziukwu said that the epidemic preparedness and health sector funding models had also been seriously tested at this time.
He said that African countries that religiously followed the 2001 Abuja Accord were better positioned to withstand the economic impact of the pandemic.
The financial expert said that the countries that failed to meet the Abuja Accord target were more vulnerable as a result of the pandemic which was already over stretching frail health systems.
“This pandemic has provided a critical juncture for policymakers to review all possible approaches to better health financing.
”There is no better time to understand and agree that health is indeed wealth and should take precedence in all budgetary and financing decisions of the government.
“It is expected that going forward, there must be a convergence between the private sector, donor agencies and the government.
”This convergence will be important in addressing the weaknesses the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified,” he said.
Eziukwu said that in April, Nigeria’s Finance Minister had rolled out several interventions to address the pandemic.
He said that the interventions among other things included N500 billion intervention fund to build and maintain various primary health care facilities across the country.
“While this is a welcome development, an enabling environment should be created and sustained.
”This enabling environment is necessary to assist the private sector to further invest in the revamp and management of primary healthcare facilities across the country.
“Doing such will bring Nigeria closer to achieving universal health coverage (UHC),” he said.
Eziukwu said that investing in infrastructure only would not be sufficient to address the weaknesses in Nigeria’s health sector.
He said that there was a need to reduce the burden of care for basic ailments on secondary and tertiary health facilities by improving and sustaining PHCs.
The expert said that during a pandemic, improving micro and medium scale enterprise investments would have to be another approach for all Central Bank’s development finance investments.
He said that on March 27, CBN rolled out several interventions aimed at assisting businesses facing challenges as a result of the lockdown, which was welcome.
Eziukwu, however, othebserved that review of the requirements from the CBN revealed certain requirements that small-scale businesses would not be able to meet to access the funds.
To address this, he said, the CBN should lower the requirements for accessing the funds and target high-impact job-generating sectors during the lockdown and after.
Eziukwu, however, said that while this might have short term positive impact as a considerable amount of the funds would go into food purchases, in the long run, it might lead to inflation.
He said that targeted interventions should be critically encouraged at this point.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Late Sen. Osinowo displayed unwavering commitment to better Nigeria- Folarin
Sen. Teslim Folarin (APC-Oyo Central) has described the death of Sen. Adebayo Osinowo (APC-Lagos East) as a loss of a patriot, who displayed unwavering commitment to a better Nigeria.
This is contained in a tribute he signed and made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the late Sen. Osinowo died on Monday.
“Distinguished Sen. Osinowo was unwavering in his commitment to a better Nigeria. He made a huge difference in the lives of millions of people in Lagos East Senatorial district and Nigeria at large,” he said.
Folarin, a former Senate leader, recalled late Osinowo’s great impressions on him as regards religious tolerance, efficacy of prayers and service to humanity during the 2019 Hajj they performed together.
He said that Osinowo’s demise was a bitter pill for members of the 9th National Assembly, the people of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The sudden demise of my colleague and brother, Sen. Sikiru Adebayo Osinowo is, undoubtedly, a bitter pill for members of the 9th Assembly, the people of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria and APC,” he said.
Folarin expressed his condolences to Osinowo’s family, the Nigerian Senate, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the good people of Lagos and Ogun States.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and associates worldwide as we grieve over the loss of such an extraordinary individual.
“I pray that in this difficult time, God give us the strength and courage to bear the irreplaceable loss.
“The wonderful memories of Sen. Osinowo’s unique personality will be celebrated by all for a very long time. May Allah grant him Al-Jannah Fridauz,” he said.
Edited Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi
Rape Crisis: NICO Director Seeks Culture Policy Review Rape
After 32 years since Nigeria’s cultural policy was put in place, the acting Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mrs Bridget Yerima, has told the Federal Government to review the policy, to tackle the country’s rape crisis.
Yerima told newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja that reviewing the policy was central to tackling the incessant rape cases plaguing Nigeria currently.
She lamented that Nigeria’s cultural policy, formulated in 1988 had become obsolete and needed to be re-appraised and updated, to tackle emerging social issues, including rape, child-molestation and domestic violence.
According to her, Nigeria needs to consider the methods adopted by some foreign countries in their resolve to curb incidences of rape in their countries.
“Countries like India, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia have instituted punishment options of death, castration, beheading and death by firing squad.
“Nigeria may need to move in that direction as means to curb the rising incidence of rape cases.’’
Yerima, who is the Director, Overseeing the Office of the Executive Secretary of NICO, argues that no punishment should be considered too harsh in protecting minors and old women, who have been at the receiving end of rapists in recent years.
“There is no doubt that the rising cases of rape, child molestation and domestic violence in Nigeria are causing many citizens sleepless nights. This calls for creative solutions to stem the ugly tide.
“The rape cases involve illegal sexual acts and violence often leading to death. In most cases, the victims are females and children who are vulnerable and weak.
“These cases have become so rampant and discomfiting, prompting Nigeria’s parliament to call for a state of emergency to deal with the embarrassing crisis.
Yerima, however, recommended that it had become auspicious for parents and guardians to rise to the occasion by playing their required roles to stem the worsening tide of rape nationwide.
“Parents and guardians must resume their traditional responsibilities as parents, who must be on ground to guide, direct or instruct their children all the time.
“In recent times, due to the harsh economic climate, most parents have had to pick up jobs that take them away from home in order to make ends meet.
“While this is explainable, parents must learn the balancing act and avoid being absentee parents most of the time.’’
Yerima suggested that at least one parent must be on ground all the time, to not only supervise but to also instruct kids.
According to her, a situation where parents transferred their roles and responsibilities to domestic helps and caregivers or to teachers and neighbors is totally unacceptable.
She said that parents should ensure that their children dressed decently at all times, to avoid attracting the attention of marauding rapists.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation is currently grappling with a rape pandemic that that has seen babies and geriatric citizens being raped by young men.
Citing a recent report, Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, said that up to two million Nigerians are raped every year.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Silas Nwoha (NAN)