Africa: FCT to partner FTAN to develop tourism in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja

Abuja

The President of the apex body of the private sector in the Tourism Industry in Nigeria, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, has pledged to work the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the development of tourism in the nation’s capital.

Mr Onung led his newly elected Executives to the Honourable Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on a courtesy call.

The delegates of the Tourism experts were received by the Honourable Minister of State herself knowing the importance of the contribution of the private sector to the development of the sector in her domain.

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In his address, the President of FTAN introduced his team and appreciated the Honourable for approving the Autosport Grandeprix which will take place later in the year. This event will be organized by the Nigeria Autosport Association, NASA, a federating Association under FTAN, and it will be the first of its kind in the FCT. Furthermore, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung informed the Honourable Minister that there is a need to also reactivate the partnership of organizing the Nigeria Tourism Investors Forum and Exhibition, NTIFE.

NTIFE is an annual gathering of critical stakeholders in the Tourism Industry in Nigeria. It was first organized in 2013 by the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, in collaboration with the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA. The success of the first edition strengthened the relationship between FTAN and her host, FCT. However, in 2015, there was a discontinuity due to change in government, and ever since the private sector has been successfully pushing it all by itself.

Shedding more light on the need for partnership, the President informed the Honourable Minister that Public-Private –Partnership, PPP, was adopted as a template that can accelerate the development of the Tourism Industry in Nigeria. This decision, he said, was taken at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism, NSCT, an event organized by Federal Government in April 2016 in Abuja.

This decision poised the private sector, through FTAN, to identify some of the low-hanging fruits that the FCT administration can partner with the private sector to develop.

The identified opportunities and sites include:
a. National Children’s Park and Zoo
b. Ecotourism Development: Wildlife Parks and Zoological gardens in FCT
c. Jabi Lake and access to water for recreational activities.
d. Mpape Crushed Rock

Onung assured the Honourable Minister that FTAN is ready to partner with the government to develop these sites and facilities.

Just like in other countries, the President emphasized the need for a tourism village in the FCT. The President advised the FCT Administrator to find a way of putting the Federal Capital Territory on the global map. This can be achieved if there is an attraction where tourists worldwide can visit to savour the crafts, food, sound, culture, and beauty of Nigeria.

READ: Africa: Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN elects Nkereuwem Onung as new president
The Tourism Village, he said will also help to create job opportunities for the local indigenes and also revenue for the FCT. He further requested that the Federating body of the private sector in the tourism industry is long overdue for an office building for Tourism House in the FCT. He appealed that FCT, being the landlord, should kindly allocate land for the construction of the tourism House.

In the midst of all the requests, the President listed a couple of challenges faced by the Tourism investors in the FCT. They include Multiple taxations, lack of a tourism master plan in the Federal Capital, and the need to reactivate some of the festivals and tourism activities.

Responding to the presentation, the Honourable Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani assured FTAN that the FCT administration is ready to collaborate with the private sector to ensure tourism’s growth and development region. She said that most of the issues raised by the President of FTAN are already being addressed by the Honourable himself.

Dr. Ramatu informed the private sector that the Honourable Minister of FCT, Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello, has given approval for the development of the Mpape Crushed Rock site to be turned into a tourism site. She said that plans are already ongoing to relocate the locals, provide basic infrastructures like good roads, drainage systems and ensure adequate security in the area where the site is located. She gave the assurance that when these arrangements are perfected, FTAN will be approached for partnership.

Reacting to the request for land, The Honourable Minister immediately assigned the Special Assistance Technical, to follow up on the request with the department of urban and regional planning to ensure that land is allocated to FTAN.

The Honourable Minister further explained that efforts have been made by this present administration to develop the Jabi lake and remodel it to JABI MARINA, a model found only in Texas, United States of America. She explained that all efforts to re-allocate the land for this purpose have proved abortive as there are lots of litigations on the lands and this has posed a hindrance.

However, she said that frantic efforts are being made to reverse some of the obsolete policies, through the national assembly, to revoke some of the lands. She re-emphasized that when all the litigations are cleared and the lands are recovered, FTAN will be invited to partner with FCT to develop the area.

She concluded by asking the Tourism Department of the Ministry to meet with FTAN to facilitate the actualization of the entire pronouncements made by the Honourable Minister.

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