Members of the Ekiti State Hoteliers Association have demanded better and more friendly engagement from Governor Biodun Oyebanji
The hoteliers expressed their unhappiness over what they described as the consistent failure of governments for not recognizing the contribution of the association and its members to the growth, development, and economic viability of Ekiti State.
The Chairman of the Association, High Chief MA Osaloni Esq, CEO , K&D Hotel, Ado Ekiti expressed this anxiety of his members during a courtesy visit to the Director-General of the Bureau of Tourism Development, Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre Esq at the Governor’s Office, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State.
In his words, Chief Osaloni said ‘ Give it to Governor Biodun Oyebanji, he has been exceptional in vision articulation, policy direction, welfarist consideration, pro masses, and pro-poor programs but he has like his predecessor neglected our members and relegated us into the background in the schemes of things and we have been unfairly treated in equitable distribution and application of dividends of his government”
At the meeting, Chief Osaloni pointed out that ” this association is the second largest private employer of labor in the state having over 460 hotels with an average of 10 workers each rescuing approximately 4600 people off the concrete jungle of unemployment ‘
Barrister Osaloni said ” Hotels and Hoteliers are closer to the people. We are the political warehouse of the state. We entertain, accommodate, and know who and what will happen in the political process and system and I don’t think we should be relegated in the scheme of things or turn into beasts of burden without making us comfortable to carry the burden with easiness,’
He pointed out that the Association is the second-highest taxpayers group in the state, hence it deserves due recognition, fair treatment, and consideration during the distribution of palliatives and other largesse by the government
One of the major grievances raised by the hoteliers was the issue of multiple taxation, which they believe hampers their ability to thrive in the business environment. With over 460 hotels across the state, they emphasized their desire to contribute to the state’s development but requested that the taxes be harmonized for a more transparent and sustainable system.
Chief Osaloni said ‘ We are responsible members of the state. We know where the shoe pinches our state. We know that nothing tangible could be achieved without an effective tax regime. We know that taxes have to be paid. We are ready to pay taxes and other levies. But we are being oppressed by multivarious taxes from multifarious organizations. We are appealing to the government for the harmonization of these taxes. We are ready to fulfill our civic duties by paying taxes, provided there is a fair and harmonized tax structure that aligns with our businesses’
On a positive note, the association commended Governor Biodun Oyebanji for the notable improvements in security and infrastructural development within the state.
In his response, Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre thanked the Association for expressing its anxiety which he described as a misconception but which nevertheless would be looked into.
He assured the Association that Governor Biodun Oyebanji is working assiduously for the association to grow, buoyant, thrive, and blossom.
Amb Ojo-Lanre said ‘ Great hoteliers, you should be happy with Governor Biodun Oyebanji because he is working for your sector not only for you to make more money but also expand your business and this is one of the reasons why he created the Bureau of Tourism Development charged with a specific mandate to enable MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Exhibitions and Events to grow in Ekiti
Amb Ojo- Lanre revealed ‘ The Governor has given us moral encouragement to lure over 300000 visitors to Ekiti State in 2024 via MICE. And if this could be achieved that would be an era of buoyancy for your association. For these people would be your guests and utilize your facilities ‘
He pointed out that the positive strides being made by the government via the improvement of the road networks, putting at bay the security challenges, the inauguration of the Independent Power Project, IPP, the ongoing effort at making the Cargo Airport serviceable, the inauguration of the Ado Ekiti Ring Road.
All are initiatives aimed at drawing investors and visitors to the state which will eventually be rubbed off on your business and the tourism sector in general ‘
Amb Ojo-Lanre said ‘ Let me assure you that the tourism vision and policy of Governor Oyebanji will change the hospitality paradigm positively where the hoteliers will be happy, the tourism stakeholders will be buoyant and government internally sourced revenue will soar”
He said ” Let me assure you also that all your concerns and anxiety will be properly conveyed to Governor Oyebanji and you know him, he would act accordingly for the mutual benefit of all
Other members of the Ekiti State Hoteliers Association who made significant contributions at the meeting include Mr Ayo Davies, President, of Oyo State Hoteliers Association who is the promoter of Davies Travel Lodge, Iyiin Ekiti, and Otunba Akin Abimbola, Secretary of the Association, Mrs Oladipupi Yinka Femi and others.