Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

Multiple taxation in FCT is hurting our biz - Hotel owners

The Hotel Owners Forum Abuja, HOFA, has decried the issue of multiple taxation, lamenting that it was hurting their business.

President of HOFA, Dr Bola Onigbogi, made this known at the annual dinner of the forum in Abuja on Friday.

She said that because if the visibility of hotel business, it was easy for government agencies to track them down for the enforcement of numerous taxes.

“A quick count of the amount of taxes we pay shows that we pay over 30 different taxes in Abuja. Can anyone survive this onslaught? Can any business survive under this regulatory environment? The answer is no.

“`The year started with a 40 per cent increase on our electricity tariffs, then we were asked to pay an additional five per cent of our revenue to a new body call FCT Entertainment and Events Centre Department.

“We have had to enter into discussion with Abuja Municipal Council to discuss some of these tariffs and taxes that they have levied on us this year.

“A combination of this punitive regulatory regime and low sales has resulted in a cocktail of hardship for hotels in 2015,’’ she said.

Onigbogi urged hotel regulators to be mindful of all taxes levied on them, adding that as stakeholders in the business, the association should be consulted before such imposition of taxes.

According to her, if HOFA is consulted before the taxes are imposed, the forum will be able to advise the regulatory bodies on what to do and how best to implement them.

She said that the forum was also asking the regulators to synchronize their activities so as to solve the problem of multiple billing by agencies on the same item.

“We should remind our regulators that HOFA is a body of law-abiding corporate citizens. We will always live up to our civic responsibilities as stipulated but the law.

“But where we are confused as to the veracity of any regulation, we will be forced to ask for an interpretation from appropriate quarters.

“So we want to say that government should help entrepreneurs survive in business if we must face reality.

“In order to contribute our quota to the development of the nation and to continue to provide employment to our teeming youths,’’ she said.

Speaking on security tips, the IGP Mr Solomon Arase called on HOFA to ensure that their hotels were well protected with the installations of CCTV cameras and parameter fence.

Arase, represented by Mr Wilson Inalegwu, the Commissioner of Police, FCT said that vigilance was required, especially at a time like this when the nation “is going through security challenges’’.

He said that it was important for HOFA members to know the police divisions around, so that they would know where to contact in case of security breach. 

“Thank God hotels in Abuja are safe as most of them have good security measures put in place because they have been working with the police to ensure this,’’ he said.

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