Reps C’ttee moves to merge tourism sector agencies

By EricJames Ochigbo

An Ad hoc Committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday in Abuja, commenced investigation for possible merger  of agencies in the tourism sector.

The agencies include the National Council for Arts and Culture, National Commission for Museum and Monuments, National Gallery of Arts and the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission.

Others are the National Institute for Hospitality and Toursm, National Theater and National Troops, Centre for Black African Arts and Civilization and National Institute for Cultural Orientation.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Victor Danzaria (PDP-Gombe) said at its hearing on Tuesday that the committee had a mandate to investigate duplication of functions and counter productivity of the agencies.

He said that some intervention agencies whose lifespans had expired were still existing and still drawing funds via budgetary allocation.

“This is a waste for this country, we are looking at areas where we can shrink governance and increase productivity.

“This committee also has a mandate of ascertaining the root cause of regular bickering among some established agencies.

“We are looking at your mandate, what you are supposed to deliver for this country; we shall also establish areas of merger, synergies and the justification of existence of some of the agencies,” he said.

The Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, Mr Nura Kangiwa , told the committee that the institute was established to provide training for players in the tourism sector.

Kangiwa said that they had identified gaps in the hospitality  and travel sectors and breached it , saying that the institute was one of the top 10 in Africa.

He said that majority of the graduates from the institute were working in many five star hotels across the world and also within the country.

The director-general also said that the focus of the institute’s mandate was to provide training and that was what distinguished it from others.

He said that because of the importance of training, an establishment bill had been passed by the parliament and was awaiting presidential assent to give legal backing to the institute.

Also, the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Olusegun Runsewe,  told the committee that there was need to merge agencies in the tourism sector.

He said that there was nowhere in the world where so many agencies operated within the culture and tourism sector.

Runsewe said that in South Africa and Dubai, only one agency regulated the sector, which enabled proper management of resources for effective productivity.

According to him, most of the agencies in the sector in Nigeria were now organizing carnivals, stressing that it was not supposed to be so.

He said that the committee was in a position to reawaken the consciousness of all stakeholders to return to the right track.

Runsewe urged the committee to amend the council to give legal powers to regulate content in Big Brother Naija (BBN) , which he said was opposed to Nigerian culture.

He said: “If such powers are given, the council would also go after cross dressers like Bobrisky among others.

In his ruling, the chairman said that all the agencies in the sector dealt with arts and culture, but noted that, they all had their individual directors general.

“This is  all about culture and we have DGs everywhere and that is why we experience ineffectiveness in governance.

“The merger exercise is to check your mandate, there is strength in merger and synergy and there is need for some to go.

“We cannot continue in government like this,” he said.

 Danzaria said that the committee would look into the presentations and documents submitted by the agencies and other experts before submitting its report to the house for further legislative action. (NAN)