Fed Govt pays 2,186 firms under payroll support, says minister

The Federal Government has paid 2,186 firms employing 12,117 individuals under the payroll support as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has said.

Mohammed stated this in Makurdi, Benue State on Monday at the formal take-off of the North Central Zonal Headquarters of the Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

He said the Federal Government has been doing a lot to alleviate the impact of the pandemic, especially as it affects the Creative and Tourism Sector, through its N75 billion Survival Fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

The minister also hailed the impact of the hospital industry, saying tourism has now become a major catalyst for economic growth and social well-being of the citizenry in most countries around the world, especially the developing countries.

In Nigeria, he said, the travel, hospitality, tourism and other related services have over one million private establishments employing over 9.8 million persons in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

The minister said the country’s hospitality industry contributed about 4.8% to the country’s total national output (GDP) and utilised about 1.6% Nigerians in the year 2016.

Quoting Price water House Cooper’s 2019 hospitality report, Mohammed noted that the  hospitality industry was expected to grow by 12 per cent yearly till 2023, making it one of the fastest growing markets, before the advent of Covid-19.

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The minister also canvassed for training and retraining for players in the industry to maximise the potentials in the sector.

He said capacity-building for players in tourism is key to the development of the sector.

He said: “Now, one of the prerequisites for tourism to develop and play its desired role in the socio-economic life of a nation is availability of well-trained personnel. This forms the basis for the Federal Government’s decision to have a specialised training institution for the hospitality and tourism industry in Nigeria, which culminated in the establishment of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

He thanked the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom for building and donating the edifice to NIHOTOUR and described the gesture as a giant stride in the development of tourism in the state and the country.

Ortom, accompanied by Deputy Governor Benson Abounu and Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism Mrs. Ngunan Addingi, conducted the minister and the Director-General of NIHOTOUR, Nura Kangiwa, round the institute, which will be offering certificate, Basic Advanced Certificate, Diploma, Professional Certificate and Post-Graduate Diploma in various fields in tourism and hospitality.

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