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    Nigeria loses $2bn annually to unharnessed maritime tourism endowments –Experts



    Nigeria loses $2bn annually to unharnessed maritime tourism endowments –Experts

    As the federal government battles severe revenue generation challenges, experts have pointed to maritime tourism as a major foreign exchange earner, saying that Nigeria currently loses about $2 billion annually for not tapping into that lucrative sub-sector.

    The Chief Executive Officer of Wealthy Honey Investment Nigeria Limited, Dr Farinto Collins, who spoke to Daily Sun in interview, said that the loss could be converted to profit if strategic investments are made to harness its potential.

    He said Nigeria is still lagging behind in the area of maritime tourism due successive leadership myopia.

    “I just mentioned that administrative acumen is inbuilt. We can’t even acquire it anywhere and you can also garner it through experience anyway. It is unfortunate that the ministry of Blue Economy is not moving forward. By now Federal Government should be making money through tourism.

    “I went to Amsterdam, I saw a tourism vessel for €5 million that ordinarily if you bring it here, it would be a source of revenue for government maybe on a PPP agreement or government owned abinitio, after a while government will now remove its hands even when the ministry of Blue Economy is not up and doing or even when the ministry is unable to harnessed the various resources.

    He lamented that under the nation’s sea there are many resources that have not been tapped which can be a source of revenue for the government.

    “Our intention when we are saying the ministry of Marine and Blue Economy should be visible because we want the untapped resources under the waters to be harnessed. But unfortunately, you cannot put a round peg in a square hole. That is the major problem we have.

    However, a marine engineer, Udok Bassey said despite that Nigeria possessed natural endowments and abundant resources in oceans and seas to back its economic diversification and development drive, Nigeria is not listed among Africa’s 15th maritime tourism nations.

    He added that the reason is not far-fetched be the country is yet to take full advantage of its ocean resources especially in the maritime tourism subsector to expand its economy.

    According to him, part of the challenges facing the Nigerian economy is the neglect of the nation’s maritime tourism business, which remains untapped while other regions and countries like United States, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India and Central and South America have continued to exploit market opportunities abounding in their marine tourism.

    He said these Africa countries like South Africa and others have been raking in huge revenues annually from their maritime tourism.

    “But it is believed that if Nigeria’s maritime tourism industry is developed and attracts private investors; it could have multiplier effects on its tourism sector in general. Presently, the global maritime tourism business is worth over $6.45 trillion, with Nigeria losing out in the massive opportunities embedded in the industry due to inability of successive governments to design and drive a coordinated policy framework to address this emergent reality.

    “But as demand for tourism expands worldwide, there are still immense opportunities for investors to exploit Nigeria‘s coastal and maritime resorts for revenue generation and job creation. These opportunities include the creation of a marine mall, cruise ships and the fostering of marine sports. Ideally, driving the growth of marine tourism through increased investment can be a huge area of opportunity for the private investor.

    “Also, the marine environment is one of the most attractive settings for tourism and recreation, which involve a wide spectrum of activities, such asscuba diving and snorkeling, wind surfing, fishing, observation of marine mammals and birds, the ferry industry, beach activities, sea kayaking, visits to fishing villages and lighthouses, maritime museums, sailing and motor yachting, maritime events, Arctic and Antarctic tourism among the numerous opportunities embedded in the marine tourism,” he said.

    He said the maritime industry is a key sector of the Nigerian economy, and for investors to come into its tourism arm, the Federal Government must provide an enabling environment, fix its entire infrastructure, and ensure the safety of the waters for tourists.

    Speaking with Daily Sun, a tourism expert, Frank Meke said all over the world, there are always a big ship for tourism taking for tour from one place to the other, ships are hardly come to Nigeria, they sail in Capetown, South Africa.

    “If one have to do that you have to fly down there before they take you to other part of the country. If we want to talk about maritime tourism in Nigeria, we have to look at Badagry shot and we need infrastructure to drive marine tourism.

    “We are blessed in Nigeria. You can see our water ecosystem, eight out of 36 states have electoral communities, which means if you want to exploit water based trip, we have lot to do. Again, we have to Iook at the challenges and the potential in the marine tourism.

    “Remember, New York is an electoral town like many of other countries, they all grow out of water. like Lokoja, Onitsha and Badagry, you see a lot of them that close to the waters. We can build waterfront properties like they do in Europe.

    “Banana Island is also one of the benefits of having of an electoral water tourism environment even Lekki and Ikoyi because of their closer to waters. Ikoyi waterfront are only being enjoyed by the rich people because it is expensive to live there,” he said.

    However, he said in terms of fancy property, waterfront gives Nigeria advantage in those areas, saying to start up the marine tourism is critical.

    In terms of water ecosystem, he said Nigeria has not been doing fishery at all, which is another part the white people are engaging.

    “There is sailing club in Lagos island where you see white people there. Apapa is a creation or an example where we can call a tourism waterfront. Before now it is Indian and white people that used to live in Apapa. Maritime tourism is very important in our economy but people are not paying attention to it,” he added.

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    Medical tourism abroad CMD tasks wealthy Nigerians to support healthcare delivery



    Medical tourism abroad CMD tasks wealthy Nigerians to support healthcare delivery

    The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Ilorin, Kwara State, Professor Yussuf Abdullah Dasliva, at the weekend called on the wealthy individuals in the country to continue to support the government at all levels in the efforts to improve healthcare delivery for the populace.

    Dasliva however said that, such support would also reduce medical tourism overseas in the country.

    Speaking in Ilorin during the official commissioning of multi billion naira the Batuli Ajiferuke Shagaya Burn Intensive Care Unit (BAS-BICU) building in the UITH, Prof. Yusuf, stated that, apart from this, it would also boost the quality of healthcare delivery in the country.

    The facility was donated by Alhaji Sheriff Shagaya and he is the son of the wealthy woman, Alhaja Muina Shagaya.

    He said that, “Let me reiterate that we should endeavour to delineate donations from Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP).

    “Donations are usually made to support various government activities/functions in order to improve/expand services to the citizenry/humanity without any anticipatory accruals (personal/groups).

    “Whereas, PPP are aimed at accruals to parties involved, and are usually not done by fiats but through laid down rules/due processes.

    “Thus, once donations are made to Government/Government establishments, such donations automatically become the responsibilities of government/its establishments to manage, in accordance with the intended purposes, without any individual/group of individuals wanting to take control of such donations or sharing the accruals; nor constituting any Board of Trustee (BOT) for government properties. Such acts are absolutely illegal and should not be contemplated”.

    The CMD appreciated the donor, saying that the project would ensure provision of quality health care and attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to the populace.

    The CMD, who solicited more donations (in whatever forms) to UITH, llorin, added that such donations would enable the hospital (with its abundant expertise) to continually improve and expand its quality healthcare provisions; and further contribute to reducing the tides of the increasing medical tourism overseas.

    Earlier, the donor, Alhaji Shagaya said that, though, healthcare is a basic human right, but it is far from being equally accessible to all.

    Alhaji Shagaya, thus, called on Nigerians to bridge gap in health care provisions and provide quality healthcare to those who need it most, since governments cannot shoulder the responsibility alone.

    “This project is not just a token of our love for philanthropy, but a reflection of our recognition that we all have a part to play in strengthening our society.

    “Healthcare is a basic human right, yet it is far from being equally accessible to all. The onus is on us, as responsible citizens, to bridge this gap and provide quality healthcare to those who need it most.

    “While our government is doing its best, they cannot shoulder this responsibility alone. It is our duty as fellow human beings to lend a helping hand”, he said.

    The donor, who said that he lost his grandmother, Batuli Ajiferuke Shagaya, to burns, added that the death inspired him to spearhead the project.

    “The pain of losing my grandmother, a loss I still carry with me to this day, is inseparable from the hope that we can save others from a similar fate.

    “It is a project that would have filled my grandmother with pride had she been here today.

    “The Batuli Ajiferuke Shagaya Burn Intensive Care Unit (BAS-BICU) building in UITH, Ilorin marks a significant milestone in the healthcare sector, particularly in the management of acute burns.

    “The new intensive care unit aimed to meet the objective of limiting the systemic insult that accompanies burn injuries, it also aimed at providing a higher level of specialized care to patients suffering from burns.

    “It will also play a crucial role in preventing infections related to invasive procedures and improving the overall care and treatment of burn patients.

    “The BAS-BICU will serve as a beacon of hope for those who have been afflicted with severe burns, offering a higher level of care that will not only improve treatment outcomes but also help prevent devastating infections and improve the overall quality of life for those who require such specialized care”, he said.

    Shagaya said that, “the over N250million Burn Center is unmatched in the North Central region, adding that, the state-of-the-art facilities therein, “are to serve the needs of our community, to save lives, and to promote healing and recovery

    The equipment you see before you will serve as tools in the hands of skilled professionals, transforming the treatment of burn patients in our country”.

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    ‘I’m Not Interested,’ Ndume Rejects Appointment As Senate Tourism Committee Chair



    ‘I’m Not Interested,’ Ndume Rejects Appointment As Senate Tourism Committee Chair

    The Senator representing Borno South Ali Ndume has rejected the chairmanship of the Committee on Tourism in the upper lawmaking body.

    Ndume was sacked as the senate chief whip over comments he made criticising President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s running of the country.

    He was subsequently picked as the chairman of the Senate Community on Tourism, a move the vocal lawmaker has turned down.

    “So, I’m not interested in accepting the committee on tourism for the two reasons I told you,” the Borno South lawmaker said in his Maiduguri hometown, 48 hours after he was sacked as the chief whip.

    “I told you I’m inexperienced in that. I don’t know anything, I’m not knowledgeable about tourism. So, I would, if any, prefer to remain as an ordinary member so that I can learn about tourism.”

    ‘Act of God’

    He likened his removal to an act of God.

    “Secondly, the party that recommended to the Senate that I should be removed from being the chief whip of the Senate, I take that as an act of God because if it is God who gave me that position. It is God that took it through APC. So, I bear no grudges about that,” he said.

    “After all, I did not contest to be the chief whip. I did not contest to be the vice chairman of the appropriation committee. I contested to be the se one of the Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and God granted me that victory and I’m happy with God, what God has given to me.”

    ‘I’m Not Wrong’

    He also defended his comments, saying there was nothing wrong with them.

    “I did not say anything wrong. And therefore I want to state that I stand by all my statements in the interview I granted,” the senator insisted.

    “So, I know that I’m not wrong. The people are not wrong by speaking the truth and standing by the truth,” the 64-year-old.

    “And I pray that the president who by now, I expect the message should have gotten to him, looks at what I have said and takes appropriate measures to eliminate the suffering of the people.”

    Following his sack, there were calls for his resignation as a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

    But Ndume said the decision to quit the APC requires consultations.

    “So, I’m not a new member. I didn’t join APC just like that. It was in consultation with my people that I joined APC. I take his advice and I will get, I know across to my people,” the lawmaker said.

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    Governor’s wife showcases Kwara’s tourism wealth



    The wife of Kwara Governor, Olufolake Abdulrasaq, on Thursday, urged local and international tourists to explore the tourism potential in the state.

    Mrs Abdulrazaq made the call in Ilorin at the ongoing annual general meeting (AGM) and conference of the National Association of Nigeria Tour Operators (NATOP).

    The AGM has its theme as “Tourism as Catalyst for Progress, Peace and Partnership”.

    “Kwara, with its vantage in the North-central region, is endowed with immense and captivating tourist destinations, widely referred to as ‘a wonder in the wilderness’.

    “The Owu Falls is the highest and most spectacular natural waterfall in West Africa.

    “Founded in 1945 and widely referenced as the mother of all museums in Nigeria, the Esie Museum is located in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State.

    “We have Imole Boja Rock Shelter; we also have the Sobi Hills, the University of Ilorin Zoological Garden, the Dada Pottery, and the Aso-oke weaving centres, among other very interesting sites.

    “In celebrating our culture and traditions, we equally have the annual Ilorin Durbar, the Gani Festival, the Shao Mass Wedding and the Patigi Boat Regatta, to mention a few,” she said.

    Mrs Abdulrazaq, who commended the tour operators for bringing their annual conference to the state, urged them to explore the spots mentioned and further promote the economic potential of the state.

    She said Kwara’s rich historical background, wonders of nature and exquisite cultural events are sights to behold.

    She said Governor AbdulRahman Abdulrasaq was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that opportunities in the tourism sector in the state were maximised.

    According to her, this is evident in the government’s engagements in partnerships, evolving investment-friendly policies and putting in place infrastructure to drive all sectors of the state’s economy.

    “In complementing this drive of government, my office and the Ajike People Support Centre are actively involved in promoting tourism and celebrating the cultural heritage of our people.

    “It may interest you to know that during our host of the Commonwealth quiz competition, top functionaries of the British government were conducted around some of these beautiful sites.

    “Also, I have sponsored some of our traditional aso-oke weavers to participate in fashion shows of international repute to showcaseenhanceate and enhancing their capacities,” she said.

    Akonitv reports that the conference began on 17 July and will end on 20 July.

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