Mrs Omotayo Omotosho, a former Director-General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), on Thursday urged the Federal Government to inject more funds into tourism agencies in order to develop the sector.
Omotosho made the appeal in an interview with our reporter on Thursday in Abuja.
“The Federal Government should fund tourism parastatals; they have been suffering due to lip service for a long time. They don’t have enough money to execute their projects,” she said.
According to her, lack of funding is negatively affecting the development and galvanisation of the sector for so many years.
“It did not start with the current administration. When I was there, we did not have funds. I had to go look for support from the private sector.
“I appointed some corporate organisations as ‘Partners for Tourism Development’ and gave them our tourism calendar from January to December and they selected the activities to sponsor.
“But that was many years ago. That was between 2000 and 2004 when I was the DG of NTDC. Now 13 years after, we are still struggling with funding tourism corporations,’’ she said.
Omotosho said that she was able to create awareness for tourism, adding that she executed many projects with the support of the private sector.
She, however, said that government should inject more funds into tourism and all parastatal agencies under the Ministry for Information and Culture.
Omotosho said that the national budget does not normally place culture and tourism in a position for the parastatal agencies to do more.
“If you compare the volume of budget allocation for culture and tourism to other ministries, that of tourism is always the lest, yet tourism is a money spinner for other nations.
“Some of the funds generated from Nigerian Port Authority, NIMASA, NNPC, FIRS and Customs should be diverted to tourism development.
“By the time they earmark a certain monetary percentage for tourism development, then we can galvanise our tourist sites and develop them.
“We can do it through public private sector partnership. I am not saying we should leave everything for the government alone, but it should put down its own contributory percentage.
“However, if we can refurbish or repackage six different tourism products in our six geopolitical zones, then we will have started,” she said.
Omotosho said when tourism parastatal agencies are funded properly, it would lead to generation of more revenue and boost economic activities in the country.
“If you don’t put in anything into it, you don’t expect anything back, therefore, government should do better in funding tourism parastatal agencies,” she said.