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Post COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu approves N1bn intervention fund for tourism sector





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 Sanwo-Olu
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.

..Tourism Endowment Fund underway

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved N1 billion seed capital for investment in Tourism, Arts, and Culture in the state.

The seed which is part of the intervention fund to cushion the negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at driving the growth of hospitality and entertainment businesses in Lagos.

State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs, Uzamat AkinbiIe-Yusuf disclosed this on Wednesday, in Alausa, Ikeja, while giving highlights on the pronouncement made by the Governor in consonance with the recommendations submitted by the Lagos State COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee constituted by the State Government to critically assess and review the negative impacts on the creative sector in the state.

Akinbile-Yusuf stated that the seed capital has shown the passion of the Governor in creating an enabling environment that would promote sustainable tourism given its major potential to contribute to jobs and wealth creation.

She said that the gesture, also aimed at providing key operators in the tourism business with soft loans to boost their capacity in driving growth and also position tourism business as a new frontier for job creation and economic prosperity in the post-Coronavirus era.

Akinbile-Yusuf, noted that the Ministry will work hand in hand with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, LSETF, to administer the single-digit loan to practitioners that meet the criteria that would be set by the Ministry and LSETF.

The commissioner also highlighted other palliatives and efforts by the state government that will guarantee quick recovery of the tourism sector to include; 50 percent rebate for license and renewal fees payable to the ministry by all hospitality, tourism, and entertainment establishments across the state.

Others include: Establishment of a platform to commence a working relationship with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for access to COVID-19 Tourism sector fund, a Creative Financial Initiative Fund, to be made available to practitioners in the state, Establishment of Tourism Endowment Fund in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, aimed at improving the tourism and entertainment sector in the state, training for practitioners in the creative industry through the Lagos Creative Academy among others

“As contained in the submission made to Mr. Governor by the Palliative Committee in respect of the Capacity building, the Governor has approved training for practitioners in the creative industry through the Lagos Creative Academy to be put in place by the Ministry,” the Commissioner added.

She also reminded practitioners in the hospitality and entertainment industry that the window of opportunity to register their establishments with the Ministry is still open, stressing that the palliatives could only be accessed by registered practitioners as recalcitrant facilities risk being shut down by the government as no hospitality establishment would be allowed to operate in the state without due registration with the Mlministry.

Akinbile-Yusuf, while commending the Governor for increasing the number of social gatherings to a maximum of 50 persons, pleaded with the practitioners not to abuse the privilege or misconstrue this additional easing of lockdown as a means to open up, noting that night clubs and beaches remain closed until further directive from the state governor.

Responding, the Chairperson of the Lagos State COVID – 19 Pandemic Review Committee,. Mrs. Joke Silva acknowledged the passion of the Governor to ensure that the tourism and entertainment industry recovers within the shortest time possible.

She said “As a matter of fact the Governor has actually approved all that we recommended because we proposed the sum of N2 billion in all for our members. What the Governor did was to approve 1 billion nairas in form of cash while the other 1 billion naira was approved in the form of waivers.

“We are aware of the fact that the State government has not also generated revenue as proposed for the year 2020 because of inactivity of some of the mainstream sectors occasioned by the Covid19 Pandemic.”

Silva, however, assured practitioners in the sector that the N1 billion seed capital would be made available to the most vulnerable practitioners to ensure that they are not sent out of business permanently.

She also commended the intention of the State Government to establish a Tourism Endowment Fund, adding that the initiative will put the practitioners in Lagos State at par with their contemporaries across the globe.

Vanguard

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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