FUNKE OSAE-BROWN, Abuja
Federal Government says it has spent US$9 billion on infrastructure in a bid to aid tourism growth and development in the country.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the 61st Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting by United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday, said the investment in infrastructure is part of efforts being made by the FG to support other key sectors of the economy.
“In our efforts at diversifying the economy through Agriculture, solid minerals development and tourism, we are investing heavily in infrastructure,” he explained. “This administration has injected US$9 billion to strengthen its investment in power, roads, railway in the past two years alone.
In addition, he said with over 180 million people and 250 ethnic groups, each with a unique story, Nigeria is a land of opportunities for foreign investors who are ready to invest in the tourism sector. He also encouraged foreign investor to take advantage of the incentives available in the tourism sector.
“It is on this basis that I call on tourists and investors in the tourism sector to consider Nigeria as their second home. This government has attractive investment incentives for investors in the tourism sector including but not limited to: Pioneer status to all major tourism projects, minimum tariff on imported tourism equipment, amusement park, equipment and materials for hotel construction and furnishing, dedicated transportation for tour operators and equipment for restaurants not manufactured in Nigeria. Minimum duty on Casino equipment, work permit for foreign workers with specialized skills within the industry. Land at concessionary rate by state governments to tourism investors.”
On his part, Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the theme of this year’s meeting, “Tourism Statistics: A Catalyst for Development,” is quite apt and timely as Nigeria is witnessing giant strides in the development of viable and sustainable alternatives to oil and gas. “With its abundant natural resources, vibrant culture, interesting history, predominance of tourist products, large population and the hospitable disposition of her people, Nigeria is currently recognized as one of Africa’s leading economies and emerging market by World Bank. Tourism has become an important sector of the economy for many member states, especially as an important source of foreign exchange earnings, employment generation and income creation, in addition to encouraging infrastructural development and poverty reduction,” he explained.