COVID-19: Hoteliers in Anambra lament low patronage, taxes, want government intervention

 

Some operators of hotels in Awka, Anambra, have expressed worry over the continued losses on their businesses caused by the lingering COVID-19 pandemic and called for government urgent assistance.

Some of the hotel owners who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Sunday said that they experienced low patronage and imposition of high taxes by government agencies in the state.

Dr Ego Akabuogu, Chief Executive Officer of New Orleans Hotel, said that she had not paid her workers for four months as patronage had reduced drastically and no hope in future to know when the business would pick up.

Akabuogu said that the management ensured that all its workers abide by all the COVID-19 protocols in the hotel as directed by government but business had not yielded anything to use to pay salaries.

According to her, high taxes from governments may push us to close down our businesses in the state.

“We cannot sustain the running cost of the business, all we do is just being hopeful.

“We need palliatives from the state government to enable us be in business, pay staff and sustain all the COVID-19 protocols so that the hospitality industry will continue to contribute to the development of the state,” she said.

Mr Chuma Nwankwo, Managing Director ChicoTel Classic Hotel said that hospitality business was made merely for travellers and appealed to the government to reduce the level of lockdown.

Nwankwo said that the pandemic had affected the business so much because the lockdown had bared travellers to go for business so it had locked the business as well.

He appealed to Anambra Government under Gov. Willie Obiano to provide palliatives to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry.

Nwankwo appealed to the government to reduce taxes on hoteliers as most of them could not afford to pay their workers and the request of levies on the business was not fair.

“We are on essential service to the public as well, so government should factor hoteliers in their budget in a critical time because we generate revenue for the state, we cannot be left to bear the burden alone,” he said .

He said that the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the hospitality industry was a big worry and that government should provide sanitisers, face masks, soaps, amongst other items.

“If government supports the hospitality industry with these basic precautionary materials then ”we the hoteliers will be able to deal with the electricity bill, purchase of diesel, payment of salary, it would be a shared responsibility,” he said.

Mrs Jessy Nwokoye, the Managing Director of MayRose Hotel, lauded the state government team on COVID-19 pandemic for their total commitment towards arresting the virus.

Nwokoye appealed to the state government to reduce the taxes placed on hotels as the second wave of COVID-19 affected the industry adversely, which had resulted in low patronage of the business.

She said that hospitality business was facing hard times and urged government for  assistance to enable the business to bounce back.

Mr Henry Onuorah, the Managing Director of Jolly Inn Hotel, collaborated the views of his colleagues and appealled that the hospitality business should not be allowed to die as many employee would lose their source of livelihood. (NAN)

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