Lagos State Government has begun disbursing the one billion naira intervention fund earmarked by the state for the creative and tourism industry practitioners to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant lost of business.
The state presented cheques to some beneficiaries at the maiden one-day tourism summit, Lagos Tourism, Hospitality, Arts and Culture Economic Summit (LATHACE), held in Eko Hotel, Victoria Island.
The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Folashade Jaji made the presentation to the beneficiaries on behalf of the State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday.
The Governor who spoke through the SSG, at the event co-organised by the Lagos State Government and Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, Lagos State chapter, called for greater collaboration between the private sector tourism practitioners and the state government.
Speaking on the theme for this event “Public Private Partnership for Sustainable Growth of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Industry for a Greater Lagos”, Sanwo-Olu said that the choice of the theme attests to the importance which his administration attaches to public-private partnership.
He assured FTAN members that the state government will continue to leverage on meaningful partnership with the private sector towards achieving “A Greater Lagos” which he promised residents of the State.
The governor informed that his administration has put in place policies and strategies that would enhance the opportunities available to advance the State’s tourism potentials, just as efforts are being put in place to discover more tourism sites and also bring the existing ones to international standards.
He said “the synergy between government and private sector investors and entrepreneurs will ensure a steady and sustainable growth of the tourism and recreation sector in Lagos State.
“There are opportunities available for private investors and entrepreneurs to develop tourist sites and it is my privilege to inform you that the UNESCO has certified “Sungbo Eredo” in the Epe Division as a World heritage site which can be developed to boost tourism potentials in Lagos State.”
Apart from this, the governor also stated that plans to establish a Film City in the state is also on course, saying that the state government has secured 100 hectares of land for this purpose with preliminary plans presently ongoing.
Sanwo-Olu said with the support of main actors in the sector, government’s aim of making Lagos the first to be reckoned with in the area of tourism and recreation will be possible and achievable.
Revealing some efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture in promoting synergy with the stakeholders, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf said the state government approved Fifty percent rebate for the practitioners in the payment of their operating license fees to the State Government for year 2020.
She stated that the presentation of cheques to the beneficiaries of the one billion naira loan shows that the initiative is not only real but transparent and sincere on the part of the Ministry.
The commissioner explained that applicants for the loan could receive as much as 30 million naira depending on their nature of the organisation applying for the loan, adding that a Special Desk would be created in the Ministry to attend to issues pertaining to the loan.
In his address at the occasion earlier, Lagos State Chapter Coordinator of FTAN, Mr. Gbenga Sunmonu, promised that the association will re-double its efforts to increase their contributions to the State’s GDP, create and recreate wealth through promotion of domestic tourism and creation of volunteers for different aspects of Tourism.
Sunmonu explained that the Summit which focuses on Public Private Partnership opens discussion on areas of concerns for stakeholders in the tourism sector with the intention of reviewing issues raised towards improving the ease of doing business in the State.