By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), the umbrella body of all the private sector tourism and tourism related businesses in Nigeria has called on the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to ensure the implementation of FCT Tourism Master Plan.
Making the call in Abuja, President of the association, Alhaji Rabo Saleh, noted that the full implementation of the master plan would definitely make the FCT one of the states to reckon with in the tourism industry, stressing that in order to actualize a speedy economic recovery plan, the private sector must be fully involved.
Saleh, revealed that 80 percent of all tourism and tourism related businesses that provide over 30,000 jobs in the FCT are private sector driven, while noting that the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has left the world economy in a devastating state, hence the need for diversification of the economy.
He, therefore, called on the administration for public, private sector collaboration to develop domestic tourism sites like the Jabi Lake, Parks, and Katampe Hills, aimed at promoting tourism in the territory.
In her response, FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, acknowledged the potential of the tourism sector in the area of job creation and lifting millions out of poverty, in line with the presidential deliverables.
The Minister, who spoke through her Senior Special Assistant on Administration and Strategy, Prof. Muhammad Usman, however, informed members of the association that the Abuja master plan was not cast on stone, stressing the need to review the FCT tourism master plan,
Aliyu also noted that the nation’s projected population by 2050 would be about 450 million people, adding that with a projected huge population, it is important that all sectors are active in order to avoid crisis.
According to her, “we are giving you the assurance that the administration believes in what you do, not only because we are beneficiaries on the services you offer, but because we believe that you have the potential to employ even more than 30,000 jobs.
“It is important to the administration that jobs are created. We have a population that is very huge. By 2050, it is projected that our population will be about 450 million people. With a very youthful population, if we don’t create the job opportunities or things that will keep them busy, then we will have a lot of crisis on our hand. So, it is important that all sectors are active.
“The tourism sector is one sector that the administration is absolutely interested in investing. May I say that even if the administration wasn’t interested, the mandate of Mr. President as re-emphasized in the course of the Ministerial Retreat last week will compel us to do something in that direction.
“The FCT Administration has 13 deliverables. Out of these, number 12 and 13 are key and crucial. Deliverable number 12 is to engage with the private sector to create job opportunities.
“While number 13 is to take measures to contribute to the achievements of the presidential commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. This requires all sectors of the economy to be active and all hands to be on deck”.
Furthermore, commenting on the development of Jabi Lake, the minister said that in the ministerial performance report presented to the Federal Executive Council on February 5, 2020. the administration has secured the nod and go ahead for the design to commence activities on Jabi Lake to enhance the tourism and recreational potential of the Lake.