The Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, says it will drop airfares if government removes Value Added tax and other taxes on tickets to help boost domestic tourism in the country.
The AON currently, there were 37 taxes on airfare collected by the various agencies of government which is one of the major challenge the airlines are grappling with, adding that apart from these taxes, there were the issues of poor airport infrastructure, rising price of aviation fuel,policy somersault and lack of maintenance facilities Amon others.
Chairman AON, Captain Nogie Meggison who stated this at the quarterly breakfast meeting organized by the Aviation Roundtable Safety Initiative, ART, said if fares crashes, many Nigerians would have the opportunity to travel round the country and suspend going to Ghana, Dubai, Cotonou and other places and rather go to Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Obudu cattle ranch to enjoy their break.
According to him, this would reduce capital flights, adding that this would encourage airlines as well as tour operators.
Captain Meggison noted that the hotels would be included in the plan to give discount on hotel rooms to those coming for leisure to encourage more people, adding in this way both aviation and tourism would complement each other.
While commending the AON for the initiative , the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stressed that the present administration is determined to boost tourism and if well developed it could also contributes certain percentage to the economic.
He emphasized aviation and tourism if combined would open up Nigerian to investment and attract tourist if different parts of the world to holiday in Nigeria.
The information and culture minister stressed that the government is very passionate about the two sector and would do everything possible to develop its infrastructure, adding that without infrastructure development there would be no growth.
He said government would collaborate with the private sector as partners in progress in the spirit of the Public Private Partnership, PPP in reviving the country’s infrastructure.
Alhaji Lai noted that massive construction of roads and railway tracks across the country, airports and power projects among others currently being embarked on were part of these infrastructure that would help to generate and stimulate the economic toward the path of growth.
He urged Nigerians to come up with solutions to problems rather than re-hatching the problems.
Various speakers at the events including airline operators commended the Federal Government on the executive order aimed at the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Managing Director of one of the domestic airlines, Mr. Allen Onyema said the order had helped in the facilitation of passengers are goods.
He urged government to sustain the initiative to attract more investors and tourists into the country.