By Lolade Odeyemi
The Lagos State hospitality industry is capable of generating over $3 billion yearly if the government addresses the security and infrastructure glitches plaguing the sector.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of International Maximum Resources & Chemical Industries Limited, Madugba Raphael stated this.
Raphael said a feasibility study by a firm commissioned by his company showed that tourism/hospitality business in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, is very lucrative, adding that Lagos alone is capable of earning over $3 billion yearly, if the government can fix the energy sector.
Madugba said unlike other sectors, the hospitality industry is the most adversely affected by the crisis in the energy sector. “It (energy crisis) affects us more than any other sector. In the banking sector, their generators will be on from probably 7 o’clock till 10 o’clock and they power down.
“The ATMs (automated teller machines) operate with solar. But the hospitality business is 24/7 run on electricity. You don’t power down. Even if it is one guest you have, he expects you to put on the generator for him and he is right, because you have already told him that you have 24-hour electricity supply. So, it’s affecting the industry in every area; it affects profit margin because of the cost implication,” he said.
He said because of the crippling effects of high cost of operations due to lack of electricity, hotel owners have been forced to adjust.
“Sooner or later most of us, who claim that we will give you light 24/7, will have to adjust because it’s difficult to survive in a situation where you buy diesel at N180 per litre,” he said, noting that 50 litres, which probably cost N6, 000 before now go for as high as N9, 000.”
Madugba said: “It’s difficult to do business in Nigeria. The environment is not friendly. If you want to begin any business, you must have nine lives to survive; it all depends on your determination, the zeal and energy you put into it. In the course of that you will lose money, because there are a lot of people that will come to extort you. But if you don’t give up you will get to the Promised Land.”