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FTAN, SON meet Lagos govt on plan for uniform hotel grading

By Maria Diamond
16 April 2022   |   4:05 am
Based on its collaborative effort to sanitise and ensure international best practice in the hoteling business, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria...

Based on its collaborative effort to sanitise and ensure international best practice in the hoteling business, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have met with the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to streamline a seamless working relationship within the ambit of the law in order to launch a national hotel grading and classification exercise with the state as the pilot lead.
The trio, who met recently at the office of the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf discussed on how to collaborate through practical terms to chart a national uniform grading and certification model for other states to follow.
Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, who, in her remarks, appreciated the team from the SON for visiting the ministry over the grading of hotels, reminded attendees that Lagos has its grading and classification mandate under the ambit of the law, saying that such provision is still valid and will be upheld irrespective of the collaboration.

On the position of SON in the hotel grading exercise, she said that SON would not play second fiddle in its mandate, which is clear under the Supreme Court judgment.
The Commission also agreed on the fact that FTAN, which is an organised private sector body, is pushing the course for the benefit of the country as well as Lagos.
Giving a clearer picture of the process, the President of FTAN, Nkereuwem Onung, who interjected at a slightly cross road question on the role of each of the parties, said the purpose of the collaboration is not to superimpose one party on the other but to use the process of division of labour at actualising the process that would bring uniformity in the hoteling business in terms of national grading and certification.
He said: “We are actually making Lagos State the pilot of this grading and classification project as a pacesetter and we know and believe that if the state gets it right, it would be a sustainable lead for other states of the federation.”
Onung explained that it is high time Nigeria joined the global best practice in giving her hotel and other tourism allied business an international standard so that all other benefits that accrue to the status can be enjoyed.

He said, “We are losing many things due to non uniformity in the national grading of our hotels and this is an impediment to investment opportunity because no one will want to invest in an environment or business where everything goes. Also, as it is now, no one will even want to visit a place where every state runs its own grading, where one star hotel in state A will be two or three star rating in another state and so on.

“The Lagos State on her part made it clear that she is ready to collaborate and make the process work provided the parties involved in the collaborative effort recognise the legal provision of the Supreme Court in favour of the state.”
Speaking on the importance of management system standard, the Director of Management Systems Certification, SON, Mr. Felix Nyado said the benefits range from identifying risk and opportunities, preventing problems from reoccurring, boosting marketing and sales effort, improving employees performance to improving management control over the business.
“The implementation of the standard is very important to the stakeholders in Nigeria (hotel owners and all hospitality and tourism promoters) because it is a sign of an upgrade in our hospitality business environment.”
Nyado continued: “The demand for a unified, one stop certification and rating system for Nigeria hospitality establishments, is a request from the major stakeholders to reduce the weight of compliance on the owners. The inspection is going to be carried out by the state ministry of tourism and in line with the requirements of ISO/IEC17020: 2012 standard, which specifies condition for competence of bodies performing inspection and for the impartiality and consistency of their inspection activities.”
The team from the SON which emphasised on the need to follow a best global standard in hotel grading and classification, presented the ISO Management System Certification comprising of the ISO9001; Quality Management System, ISO 14001 Environment Management System, OHSAS18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series, ISO22000 Food Safety Management System, Integrated Management System as well as the route of certification.
According to the team leader from the SON, Nyado, the provision of certification service is in first, second and third phases among which are the inspection and grading audit, assessment report and recommendation and certification, the final stage.

After a well laid down explanation by the president of FTAN and the SON team at the meeting, Akingbile-Yusuf agreed to take time out to look at the SON’s strategic document on the requirements and guidance for use on hotel as well as serviced accommodation management system and rating the team.

She, however, promised to get back in a month’s time for another meeting.
Already, the SON team has suggested a training slot for the director of the ministry and promised to invite the participation of the ministry’s representatives to one of its exercises to give a broad knowledge of what the role of the organisation entails as the certification organ of Nigeria.
The President of FTAN, Mr. Nkereuwem Onung, Vice President, South South, FTAN, Mrs. Justin’s Ovat and FTAN National Public Relation Officer, Mr. Wale Olapade attended the meeting.

For the SON, Mr. Felix Nyado led the Team while the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has in attendance the commissioner, Pharmacist Akingbile-Yusuf, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Nathan-Marsh, Assistant Director, Hotel Licensing Department, Mr. Ladejobi Ganiyu Ibrahim among others.