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Lai Mohammed, NTDC unveil new policy to grow Nigeria’s tourism industry

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The Nigerian tourism industry is set for speedy development as the Ministry of Information and Culture, in synergy with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, is set to come up with a new tourism policy for the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed disclosed this during his working visit to the Corporation’s headquarters in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Alh. Mohammed explained that the policy portends great avenue for the development of the nation’s tourism industry, “and it will no doubt lead to an influx of foreigners into Nigeria to appreciate the potentials that abound in the country – our food, music, film, culture and fashion industries which are subsectors of the tourism network.”

Mohammed, who noted that Nigeria made $53 million from film and $51 million from the music industries respectively last year, described Tourism as the fastest-growing sector in Nigeria economy, which, according to him, employs more than one million people, though with the capacity of employing seven million people.

Alh. Mohammed while commending the NTDC’s TourNigeria initiative noted that the NTDC is sitting on a keg of unexplored potentialities. He added that the Corporation also can harness the huge potentials of Nigeria to attract people to Nigeria, “because there are many reasons people should come to Nigeria.

“Nigeria is a country of colours, with 250 ethnic groups, good culture and almost all-year-round good weather. We are blessed with a good music industry that has become global. Our fashion is celebrated globally. Nigeria also has good religious tourism, with lots of people coming to Nigeria every day for religious tourism.”

The Information and Culture minister while commenting on the visa-on-arrival policy for African nationals which began operation since the beginning of this year, said with the policy, the tourism industry will be better off, realise its full potentials and generate more revenue into government coffers and increase the fortune of operators in the industry.

While welcoming the minister, the Director-General of NTDC, Folorunsho Coker identified a paucity of funding as one of the critical problems besetting tourism development in Nigeria aside legislative framework to institutionalise the sector.

He promised not to rest on his oars until the ‘Tour Nigeria’ and ‘Nigerian Flavour’ twin programmes he conceived are driving to their full potentials and replicated in all states of the federation.

Tour Nigeria is a tourism brand, created by the NTDC in 2017, under the Coker-led administration, to promote domestic tourism in Nigeria.

Coker revealed that the Corporation is deploying digital platforms and strategies to revolutionise the sector, saying “We are embracing digital transformation tools to gain more mileage and penetration to sell the Nigerian flavours – music, film, fashion and food to the global world.”

The NTDC boss then reiterated his road map for the Nigerian Tourism, a five-point action plan – acronymic CHIEF (Corporate Governance & Regulations, Human Capital Development, Infrastructural Development, Events and Marketing, and Finance & Investment) – to promote and develop the tourism industry by promoting domestic tourism and encouraging ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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COVID-19: Lagos govt, GTBank launches 110-bed isolation centre in Lagos

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COVID-19: Lagos govt, GTBank launches 110-bed isolation centre in Lagos

Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has formally launched a 110-bedspace isolation centre for the Lagos Island located in Onikan Stadium, for (COVID-19)

The facility was built by the Lagos state government in collaboration with the management of Guaranty Trust Bank within the space of one week.

Speaking at the official collaboration and handing over ceremony, Sanwo-Olu described the centre as a world class facility put up in just one week. He commended the level of professionalism and level at which details were followed at putting up the facility.

He commended GTBank for partnering with the state government in its efforts at halting the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus code-named COVID-19 in the state and Nigeria at large. “We are impressed with the speed with which all of the various contractors at multi-level had worked tirelessly to put up this structure. This is a reflection of the strong can-do-spirit of Nigerians and more importantly the brand GTB,” he said.

The facility he said will complement the Isolation Centre at the Infectious Disease Hospital, (IDH), Yaba.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for health, Dr. Akin Abayomi thanked the private sector for assisting government in this very difficult moment, describing the facility as an incredible feat that has been completed in a very short space of time.

“The facility was completed in a very short space of time, which is the same speed with which the virus is moving; which means we are moving as fast as the virus. What this place is going to turn into is an isolation bio-security unit, so what we have to do now is create the movement flow that is going to protect the staff looking after the infected patients.

“So there is another phase that needs to kick in now, as we take possession of the facility, we are going to order the movement around it to make sure that the staff that are working in here are protected from being infected by Coronavirus. That in itself is a science and a precise discipline. In the next two or three days, we are going to implement that in here so that by middle of next week, this place would become operational,” he assured.

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COVID-19: Buhari directs finance minister to pay salaries, pensions on time

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COVID-19: Buhari directs finance minister to pay salaries, pensions on time

President Muhammadu Buhari has given directive for the protection of staff salaries, pensions of retirees and statutory transfer in spite of the challenge posed by COVID-19 that has affected the economy.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this when she appeared as a guest on Channels Television “Politics Today” programme monitored by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.

Mrs Ahmed said the president also directed that key infrastructure projects such as major roads, railway line and power that were critical to growth and development were also protected.

She admitted that the revenue had been threatened by the pandemic, adding that the country’s ability to implement the 2020 budget at the state and federal level would be significantly hampered.

According to her, with all the impact of COVID-19, it is clear that global growth is going to decline significantly and in worse case, the global economy may go into recession and Nigeria is not isolated from this.

“We made a review of the situation and we decided we need to scale back on our plans so as to bring it into the current reality.

“For instance, the crude oil benchmarks of 57 dollars per barrel in 2020 budget, we had to scale it back to 30 dollars.

“We have been reviewing the budget to look at where we can defer expenditures to another period when things pick up and we have done assessment to reduce the size of the budget by as much as N1.5 trillion.

“We are also looking at our debt service obligation by talking to our lenders to renegotiate repayment term or even seek stay of debt service to preserve them because of this current emergency,” she explained.

NAN

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COVID-19: No curfew in Lagos yet – Information commissioner

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COVID-19: No curfew in Lagos yet - Information commissioner
FILE PHOTO: Lagos State Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (M), flanked by the state commissioner for health (L) and commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso (R) at a recent press briefing in Lagos.

The Lagos State government has clarified reports that it has imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state starting from Sunday to allow the state carry out comprehensive disinfection of its metropolis, THE WITNESS reports.

The state governor, Babajide-Sanwo-Olu had said during a press briefing that statewide curfew will begin from 8pm to 6am, starting from Sunday until further notice. The governor also mentioned that traveling in and out of Lagos would be restricted on Sunday, adding that all inter-state motor parks should shut down for two weeks.

But clarifying the directives following recent developments, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a telephone chat with THE WITNESS on Saturday said: “It’s true that the governor gave these directives to enable the state disinfect its metropolis but relying on experts advice, it was discovered that the disinfectant is non toxic. As I speak with you, the exercise has commenced,”

“Just as the governor said during the live press conference, we have taken possession of over 200 disinfecting machines, and we have started disinfecting all major highways, bus stops, markets, parks and other public areas.”

“For now, no curfew in the state, but Lagosians should please stay safe.” he concluded.

THE WITNESS reported that Nigeria recorded 11 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 81 on Friday night.

The Nigeria Disease Control Centre said eight new cases were recorded in Lagos State, two in Enugu and one in Edo.

“11 new cases of #COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria: Eight in Lagos State, two in Enugu and one in Edo.

“For a breakdown of cases by states in real time as of 11:55pm on Friday 27th of March, Lagos has 52 cases, FCT – 14, Ogun – three, Ekiti – one, Oyo – three, Edo – two, Bauchi – two, Osun – one, Rivers – one, Enugu – two,” the tweet added.

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