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Tour operators appeal for CBN’s intervention, inclusion

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Tour operators under the aegis of the Association of Hajj and Umrah Tours (AHUT) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the special palliative measures to tour operators in the country.

The CBN had on Monday announced six new policy measures to mitigate the spread of coronavirus across the country, saying it was establishing a N50b facility through the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) microfinance bank for households, as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that have been hit by COVID-19.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Kano, Chairman of AHUT, Abdulazeez Halliru Kafinsoli, said travel agencies were some of the worst hit by the COVID-19 that should be considered in the CBN COVID-19 palliatives designed for hoteliers, airlines, service providers and health experts.

Kafinsoli, who lamented that tour operators have suffered huge losses running into millions of dollars covering payments of visa, air tickets, accommodation and other exigencies appealed for CBN incentives.

He recalled that considering huge income being generated into Federal Government’s coffers through taxes, the operators should be entitled to some incentives from the CBN.

“We have gone through the CBN N50b incentive offer, but we are not all that optimistic of benefitting from it because we have not been consulted or considered.

“The Federal Government should consider us, because we are the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. When policies like this are made, our members should be considered, considering the amount of turnover and revenue we generate for the Federal Government through our business,” he stated.

He expressed happiness over the emergence of a new leadership in the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), promising that the association was ready to work with the Zikirullah Hassan-led leadership for smooth hajj exercises.

“We thank God that the new leadership of NAHCON came at a time when we have all these challenges and the new management has agreed to work with us. We are ready to give them maximum support and cooperation.

“Already, we have held meetings with NAHCON and we have seen a new face that comes with new ideas; and we are ready to work with them,” he added.


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