The Senate has called for justification of pitching Culture and Tourism sector together in the Ministry of Information.
The Senate, which reprimanded the Minister for failing to attend a public hearing on a Bill seeking to re-enact the Nigeria Tourism Development Commission (NTDC) Act organised by its committee on Culture and Terrorism, explained that the Minister has continuously shown little or no interest to its development, and also observed that due to the lack of enabling laws to give legal backings for the establishment of some agencies in the tourism sector as well as regulate their activities, some of them have become drain pipes to government as they have not been generating any revenues into the economy.
At the hearing which was Chaired by Senator Matthew Urhogide from Edo South, it was solicited that the Culture and Tourism sector be separated from the Ministry of Information in order to give focus and direction as a major revenue earner for the country as in the case of other world economies.
The Senate president, who was represented by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Muhammad Ibn Na’Allah upon declaring the Public Hearing open, said
“The state of the nation’s economy today further reinforces the urgent need to initiate deliberate and sustained efforts towards diversifying its mono product economy which is largely dependent on crude oil.”
The Senator pointed out that
“The culture and tourism industry is a veritable means of driving the renaissance of a vibrant economic activity in Nigeria. Indeed the indicators are extremely encouraging. Our country’s movie industry is ranked second in the world. However our dance, tourism and music are huge potentials that remain largely untapped. We have found out that one of the reasons militating against the emergence of a viable tourism economy is the dearth of legal provisions which will help in facilitating and assuring standard of ethics in the industry”.
Senator Bukola Saraki said
“I am particularly happy that members of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism under Senator Urhoghide is living up to the challenge I hurled on them during the inauguration of this Committee when I urged members to develop strategies to harness these opportunities and further ensure that our tourist sites are developed and made appealing enough to attract foreign direct investments. I am glad to be part of the history today”.
He assured the Tourism stakeholders of the readiness and willingness of the Senate to collaborate with the private sector on legislative capacity aimed at ensuring the enhancement of the Tourism sector. Earlier in his remarks, Uhrogide noted that the Act establishing some agencies and parastatals set them out for mere entertainment while others have no legal framework for their existence. He stated that the role of Culture and Tourism in enhancing economic growth cannot be over emphasized as it serves as a catalyst to the growth and economic development of any nation, and that it contributes about 10.2 percent of global GDP.
The senator therefore noted that Nigeria as a country cannot afford to be left behind in benefitting from the revenues accruing from the sector especially considering its vision of wanting to make the Nigeria’s Tourism sector become one of the 20 income earners in the world. He described the NTDC Establishment Act of 1982, which the new Bill seeks to repeal, as characterised with too many irregularities stating that it has not gone through any form of re-enactment since then.
WTTC’s latest annual research, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, shows Travel & Tourism’s contribution to world GDP outpaced the global economy for the sixth consecutive year in 2016, rising to a total of 10.2% of world GDP (US$7.6 trillion). The sector now supports 292 million people in employment – that’s 1 in 10 jobs on the planet.