The Hotel Owners Forum Abuja (HOFA) has decried low patronage of customers, saying they prefer staying with their relatives due to its new accommodation rate as a result of fuel subsidy removal.
The President of HOFA, Mrs Funmi Kazeem, said this on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Kazeem said that the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government had made hotel owners to increase their accommodation rate.
She appealed to the government to review taxes downward for the survival of the hospitality industry in the country.
According to her, patronage to hotel accommodation has declined because most of the customers now prefer staying with relatives and friend’s house when they come to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Even if they come into town for events, they will prefer to stay with their relatives and friends than to stay in a hotel.
“As the fuel subsidy removal was announced, we did not have an option than to jack up rate; even when we decided to increase our rate, our old guests did not agree to pay the new rate.’’
According to her, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) that provides us electricity has also come up with high tariff.
“AEDC had written a letter, informing hotel owners of another increment in Aug.1, 2023.
“We wrote to them that if they do this, they are giving us reason to look for alternative means of getting power; we are already looking for the opportunity of having solar energy.
“AEDC put Maximum Demand (MD) meters in the hotels because they believe we are using big equipment.
“We use more of electricity and one of the laws of MD meters is that it gives you 20h electricity, but we do not get that like my own hotel, some weeks, I don’t even get light.
“When we complain, they give excuses; I just pray our country will be better. These had affected their businesses,” Kazeem said.
The president added that HOFA needed government’s intervention in the area of slowing down most of its taxes as it was still struggling to recover from all the losses recorded during COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we expect the government to do is to create an enabling environment for hospitality industry to grow and develop,’’ she said.(NAN)