Ikeja - The Lagos State Government said that the sum of N3.75 billion was lost to the illegal regulation of hotels by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in the last six years.
Disun Holloway, the Commissioner for Tourism and Intergovernmental Relations revealed this on Wednesday in Ikeja while briefing the media on last Friday`s Supreme Court`s judgment on hotel regulation.
He explained that the loss represented the revenue that would have accrued to the state from hotel licencing, grading other functions, which the NTDC usurped since 2007.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a panel of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, led by Justice Suleiman Galadima, had on Friday unanimously declared that it was only State Houses of Assembly that could make laws on tourism or the licensing and grading of hotels and other hospitality establishments.
The court said the 1999 Constitution only empowered the National Assembly to regulate tourist traffic, "a term which does not include hotels grading and licencing.’’
It validated both the Hotel Licencing Law of Lagos State (as amended), and Hotel Occupancy and Consumption Law, declaring as null and void the conflicting sections of the NTDC Act.
"We stopped sharing funds from the NTDC in July 2007 and in Lagos, we believe we have on the average about 3000 establishments, excluding the five stars and other hotels.
"If we are to take an average, N250,000 and multiply by 3000 establishments, for the six years the case lasted, that will give us N3.75billion that we have lost so far," the commissioner said.
Holloway commended the verdict but said the state was looking at how it would use it to reposition the tourism sector rather than the revenue it would make from it.
The commissioner stated that the judgment would greatly help address the ambiguities and uncertainties in the hospitality industry and would boost investor`s confidence in the tourism sector.
He urged the over 3000 hotels and other hospitality establishments yet to register with the state government to do so in order to legalise their operations.
Holloway urged the NTDC to go back to its real functions of managing tourist traffic in the country through effective information management and tourism promotion programmes.