By Archibong Jeremiah
“Over 70 establishments have received closure notice; our team will go with members of the police force to shut down the unlicensed establishments, and this is to come in October”.
This was disclosed by the Manager, Standards and Licensing Department, Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr. Eche Takon in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch in his Okoi Arikpo office in Calabar.
He revealed that only 13 hotels have complied with the bureau’s criteria as at 30TH September 2014 and those 13 remain the only ones fully licensed.
They include: Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, Transcorp Hotels, Dannic Hotels, Afrikanna Suites, Pearl Suites, 520 Hotel, Freemans Hotel, Chelsea Holiday Home, Success Villa Hotel, Petesville Hotel, Satellite Town Hotel, and Axari Hotel.
Mr. Takon said that some of the requirements needed by his office from the hoteliers include: Certificate of hygiene from ministry of health, medical fitness for food and beverages staff, fire safety certificate, tax clearance certificate personal and cooperate, and so on.
According to him, “Some are not able to come up with their complete documentation; tax clearance is a major issue for some of them, for those who have gotten the requisite documentation we send our assessors to the hotel to access the place and if there is improvement, they issue you an improvement notice which if you comply with, your license shall be issued to you”.
He maintained that, “There are others out there that have been issued improvement notice but have been given time to comply”.
The standard and licensing officer said that aside from the 13 licensed establishments, there are some that are trying to comply with the improvement notice, “On my table right now I have about 12 files on the improvement notice to be accessed”, he said.
Again, Mr. Eche alleged that the problem of low pace of licensing irrespective of the over one hundred hotels in Cross River State is due to inability of the hoteliers to provide their tax clearance certificates. “The problem is from the individual organization not the government, but I must say that those who don’t have some of the requirement but because they have seen the importance of the whole process they are going to get. The licensing exercise is not pinned to a particular time frame because it’s a chain process that goes round, once any hotel meets our requirements we issue the license”.
He commended his colleagues for being sincere to their job, advising the masses to assist the bureau in ensuring that the right thing is done in any little way possible.
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