From L-R: Chinedu Chukwuji, Mahmood Alli Balogun, Funmi Kazeem, Nkereuwem Onung, Olubukola Adeyemi, Prince Jide Kosoko, Ikechi Uko
The President of Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria, FTAN, Nkereuwem Onung has helped resolve the dispute between the Audio Visual Rights Society, AVRS and the Hotel Owners Forum Abuja HOFA.
AVRS had written to hotels in Abuja asking them to pay for the consumption of audio visual creative products in their hotels.
This was resisted by the Hotel Owners who felt it is unfair to tax them when they have paid for the decoders and the bouquet.
This disputation has ended up as court cases. AVRS which is recognized by law as a collecting society that protects the intellectual rights of the Creatives in the Audio Visual sector of the industry.
AVRS has been known to picket hotels to enforce their rights.
This was one of the problems the new President of HOFA Barrister Funmi Kazeem inherited on assumption of office.
She had entered into negotiations with AVRS to reduce the cost of compliance for her members. The negotiations had dragged on over time and had become almost deadlocked.
She reached out to FTAN to intervene. The FTAN President with the counsel of the BOT Chairman relocated to Lagos with the HOFA president to engage AVRS with a view to resolving the issue.
At the meeting held on Monday 17th December at the office of AVRS between FTAN, HOFA and AVRS all issues were eventually resolved to the expectations of all parties involved.
HOFA accepted to pay for the use of the products and Pro-Rated rates depending on the size and quality of the hotels which were divided into 4 classes.
AVRS agreed to reduce the burden of arrears as the hotels did not know of the law until recently.
HOFA agreed that its members will pay the agreed arrears before April and the new rates by June 2022.
AVRS agreed to soft pedal on its picketing and court cases to enable the association enlighten its members on the legitimacy of the invoice sent by AVRS.
The Chairman of AVRS Mahmood Alli Balogun thanked the FTAN team for choosing the path of dialogue.
He elaborated the role members of AVRS play in the society and it is only fair that users pay for consumption.
He commended the President of HOFA for bringing the Tourism Federation along to help break the deadlock.
A Director of AVRS Prince Jide Kosoko a very popular actor thanked the tourism team for deciding to support performers in the movie industry by complying with the Law.
He told them that the product has already been consumed and payment for it should be encouraged.
Once the template for payment was agreed upon by the teams the consultant of AVRS Chinedu Chukwuji congratulated HOFA for doing the right thing.
He said that consumption is personal to individual hotels and that the invoices will be sent to the hotels directly.
The President of FTAN thanked the AVRS team for accepting to the new terms of agreement. He told them that he intentionally brought along Ambassador Ikechi Uko an FTAN BOT member because he knows that he is well known to the AVRS team.
He was brought along to underscore the fact that it is a family meeting. His presence and contributions Nkereuwem said was vital to an amicable resolution.
He promised that the era of picketing of hotels will soon be over as FTAN will be reaching out to its member associations on the need to comply with the Law.
The General Manager of AVRS Mrs Olubukola Adeyemi read out the terms of agreement to the consent of all present.
It may be recalled that AVRS had recently picketed some big hotels in Lagos.
FTAN is the umbrella body of all Tourism Associations in Nigeria. HOFA is the Hotel Association for Hotels in Abuja. It is a member of FTAN