The Nigerian Hoteliers Association, Imo State chapter, has called on the Imo state government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to settle their differences to save the tourism industry from collapse.
The Chairman of the association, Mr. Chima Chukwunyere, said this while addressing newsmen in Owerri, on Saturday.
Chukwunyere, who decried the negative effects of the face-off on the tourism industry in Imo, called on the warring parties to immediately sheath their swords and save the industry before it became late.
He said that as a result of the strike action embarked upon by the NLC in Imo and the ensuing blackout resulting from grounded operations of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), many hotels in the state were gradually parking up.
According to him, the high cost of diesel and the cash crunch were enough challenges for the industry which continues to battle multiple taxations amidst a dwindling economy.
He described the tourism industry as the second highest employer of labor in Imo and called on the parties to quickly resolve their differences in the interest of the state and her economy.
“The misunderstanding between the state government and the NLC in the state has dealt a devastating blow on the tourism industry and as the saying goes where two elephants fight, the grasses suffer and the grass here is the hotel industry.
“Over 80 percent of the hotels are on the brink of collapse. They have neither been able to pay staff salaries nor have they met other expenses since December 2022.
“Right now about 70 percent of hotel owners in the state are asking people to leave their hotels because they want to relocate their business to either Asaba or Ghana.
“It’s such a worrisome situation and whatever the problem between the warring parties should be sorted out quickly,” he said.
Saga Gist reports that the EEDC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, had, in a release on Thursday, announced that the Company would shut down its transmission in Imo.
Ezeh said that this was a result of an industrial action embarked upon by the organized labour in the state following allegations of interference in NLC elections by the state government.