Bauchi State government has been appealed upon to as a matter of urgency give as a palliative to hoteliers in the state the sum of N500m to cover their cumulative losses in the past two months following the ban on social gatherings and partial lockdown imposed on Bauchi State as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 which has adversely affected their income.
The hotels’ proprietors in the state also lamented that their businesses have been paralysed with no hope that it may pick up in the nearest future considering the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While addressing a cross-section of Newsmen on Monday at Obuna Royal Hotel, Bauchi, State Chairman of Nigeria Hotels Association Bauchi State chapter, Eze Patrick Anyanwu made the lamentation and appealed to the state government to assist them with the sum of N500 million to save the hotels from complete collapse after the COVID-19 induced holidays.
According to him, there are a total of 140 hotels across the state saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their business negatively such that they resorted to taking loans from banks to maintain the hotels and pay staff salaries.
He lamented that “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the hotels. Yet we are expected to at the end of the month still pay taxes, we must pay for electricity, water and so on. Some of our staff are being paid fully, some are paid half salaries. We have not decided to have any of our staff sacked. They are still on the job”.
The chairman added that “We normally get our customers through neighbouring states. The lockdown on neighbouring states has stopped patronage. Some of us have borrowed money from banks to keep the hotels in order. If we are not working, how can we repay the loans?.
He also said that if the 140 hotels in the state go bankrupt and collapse, numerous workers who earn a living from them will be jobless saying,
“Hotels in Bauchi State totalling about 140 contribute to the internally generated revenue of the state. They contribute to the socio-economic development of the state”.
“Hotels have been helping in terms of gainful employment to our youths. We hereby request for N500 million financial assistance from the government as palliative. The financial palliative we are requesting from the governor is very necessary, very important for us not to collapse completely”. He entreated.
It will be recalled that since the partial lockdown of the state as well as the curfew imposed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the State Police Command has been patrolling all hotels and relaxation joints in the state disrupting operations there a development that has scared away nightcrawlers.