Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have called for a critical look at the proposed bill on the establishment of state hotel licence agency to avoid multiple taxations that would chase away investors in the state.
The lawmakers made their views known during the debate on the state Hotel Licence Bill, 2009 after it passed its second reading at the floor of the House, last Wednesday.
The lawmakers were of the opinion that having a hotel licence agency in the state would make the state’s law on tourism development ineffective, adding that the Tourism Bill passed by the House had already captured the intention of the proposed bill as well as the interest of the state in that regard.
Taken lead on the debate, Hon. Golden Chioma, (Etche I) while commending the sponsor of the bill for his courage, observed that page 19 of the bill if passed into law would create a difficult environment for hotel operators in the state.
According to him, the N1 million proposed charge imposed per room annually for five star hotels would adversely affect the operators of the business in the state, adding that the bill would not encourage the tourism programme of the present administration.
“Section 19 of the bill if passed into law, would make some hotels in the state like the Presidential Hotel not to be in existence. We are supposed to encourage investors and not to chase them out. The one million naira charges as proposed in this bill would make hotel business in the state a difficult one”, he stated.
He therefore, urged his colleagues to take a second look at the matter so as to encourage business sustainability in the state.
Also speaking, Hon. Henry Ogiri (Abua/Odual), Tamunosisi Gogo Jaja (Opobo/Nkoro) and Hon. Maureen Tamuno (Ogu/Bolo) stated that multiple taxes through the establishment of the licence agency would discourage hotel business as well as affect tourism development in the state.
The lawmakers suggested that relevant agencies and authorities should be consulted before passing the bill into law, so as to avoid unnecessary levies and taxes to be imposed on hotel operators as doing otherwise was capable of crippling hotel business activities in the state.
They also urged the House to tarry a while before passing the bill into law, adding that before a hotel was established in any state, it must pass a registration process through the National Tourism Development Board.
However, in their own views, Hon Chidi Lloyd (Emohua), sponsor of the bill and Hon. Hope Ikiriko (Ahoada West) explained that the essence of the bill was to document customers that check into hotels in the state.
The lawmakers were of the opinion that most of the crimes in the state were been perpetrated by some people who checked into various hotels in the state and carry out their nefarious activities without being noticed.
They opined that the bill when passed into law would promote sanity in hotel operations in the state. The lawmakers pleaded with their colleagues to give the bill the support it deserved so that the state would benefit from the intention of the bill.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Tonye Harry who presided over the session, thanked the lawmakers for their contributions during the debate.
Hon Harry while committing the bill into the committee state directed the House Committee on Commerce and Industry chaired by Hon. Emmanuel Okatta to ensure that all the sentiments raised by the lawmakers on the bill were taken into consideration.
Shehu Explains Buhari’s Controversial Tweet On Biafra
The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, says his principal deserves credit over his efforts in tackling acts of terrorism in Nigeria.
Shehu stated this on Friday while presenting a paper, tagged ‘Fake news: challenges of information management’, at the 10th year anniversary of the Federal University Dutsin-Ma (FUDMA), in Katsina State.
He revisited the issue that led the Nigerian government to ban microblogging site, Twitter, on 5 June 2021, insisting that it was the right call.
Recall that the Buhari administration officially put an indefinite ban on Twitter, restricting it from operating in Nigeria after the social media platform deleted tweets made by the president warning the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the South-Eastern people of Nigeria of a potential repeat of the 1967 Biafran Civil War due to the perceived insurgency in the South-Eastern part of the country.
The Nigerian government claimed that the deletion of the President’s tweets factored into their decision but it was ultimately based on “a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences”, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“It is an opinion that the president’s comments on IPOB, which led the banning of twitter in Nigeria was controversial. For many it was not,” Shehu said on Friday in Katsina.
“President Buhari has therefore been warning against social media disruptive and divisive influences, and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full.
“The tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact. As a terrorist organisation, IPOB poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.
“When the President said that they will be treated “in a language they understand,” he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.
“This is not a promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists.”
Abaribe Wants More Women In Governance
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Senate minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has called for more inclusiveness of women, saying their role in the nation’s development can no longer be ignored.
Abaribe who stated this at the opening ceremony of the silver jubilee celebration and conference of the League of Women Voters of Nigeria, NILOWV, in Abuja, noted that the country must come up with a strategy to encourage women participation in the political process.
“We must try to encourage and support women as much as we can because we cannot have 50 per cent of our society not being given the opportunity to contribute to society. We must realize that the good of society also depends on women because they are our nurturers. If things are not going well for women, you can imagine how that will affect the rest of us,” he said.
The federal lawmaker also lamented the plight of women in their quest for elective offices, saying a lot of hurdles have been stacked against them in the past.
“I think what is going on is that ignorance is being pushed and of course religion and traditional practices are used to suppress women. So, it is up to women with education to arise and speak up. One of the things that even men find difficult to understand is that women sometimes find it difficult to support themselves and that is a bit difficult for those of us who continue to push for women to get farther than they are at the moment,” he added.
Speaking earlier, President and founder of NILOWV, Esther Uduehi, said the time had come for Nigerian women to take their place in the collective task of nation-building.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, “Nigerian women: overcoming challenges in politics and leadership for national development,” Uduehi noted that the organization “seeks to empower women and girls from age 18 and above politically and economically for national development,” adding that NILOWV “believes that if the nation is to progress, there is need for gender mainstreaming in all facets of life.
According to her, “gender inequality is not a women’s issue but an economic one. Gender inequality does more harm to the general and economic development of any country and every effort should be made to enthrone gender equality in Nigeria.”
The group called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government as well as sub-national governments to do everything possible to consider the full implementation of the 35 per cent affirmative action for women.
Other dignitaries at the event include, former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, Special Assistant to President Buhari on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojudu, among others.
Atiku Urges FG To Emulate PDP Govs
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government to emulate the infrastructural development in states being governed by governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in order to surmount unemployment that is breeding social ills in the country
Abubakar stated this in Bauchi while inaugurating the 4.2 kilometres Gombe-Maiduguri Bypass road constructed by the administration of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.
According to the former vice-president, infrastructural projects were instruments of economic empowerment being used to create jobs for unemployed youths, declaring that unemployment was the root cause of social ills, including banditry, kidnapping, among others.
The PDP chieftain commended Governor Mohammed for his administration’s relentless efforts in delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state and urged the governor to sustain the momentum and accelerate the pace of good governance in Bauchi State.
“Let me commend you for reducing the unemployment in the state and the country at large because it is this unemployment wave that is creating all the social ills that we are facing in the country.
“I wish the Federal Government would copy what the PDP states are doing in this country because in every PDP state you go, you will find infrastructural development projects taking place and I cannot recall any APC state commissioning projects,” he said.
Abubakar noted that Mohammed’s giant strides in Bauchi is the governor’s way of laying the pathway for PDP to retain the state and its return to power at the federal level.
“Your Excellency, you are virtually laying the pathway to the return of PDP in the state and also the country at large. I want to commend your contributions in that regard,” he said.
He then commended the state House of Assembly, which is controlled by the APC, for its cooperation with the executive arm of the state government, saying that this is a demonstration of placing the state above any other considerations.
“Let me also use this opportunity to commend the state House of Assembly, that in spite of the fact that the Assembly is controlled by the opposition party, the development of the state is far more important to them than political beliefs.”
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