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Cross River: ‘Poor patronage, high taxes killing hotel biz’

He said because of this, many hotel owners in the state have decided to put them up on sale because of the lull being witnessed…

He said because of this, many hotel owners in the state have decided to put them up on sale because of the lull being witnessed in the state economy.
Speaking to Daily Trust in his office yesterday, Mr Ogar said it is mostly during the annual Calabar carnival in December that some of them can say they have many guests.
Ogar added that despite the lull in business, tax officials have compounded their woes by forcing them to pay heavy taxes.
He said: “Hotels in this state, particularly Calabar where there are over 300 of them, are running at a big loss. Like I said, breaking even is a luxury. Many hotels are even being put up for sale. If you run a hotel and you don’t have fifty per cent returns it means you are running at a loss because of the various overheads you will need to settle.”
“Because of the very poor patronage, many owners of hotels in Calabar are thinking otherwise. If you go to the property market in Calabar now, hotels constitute between 20 to 30 per cent, one of the highest on sale,” he said.
He lamented over excessive taxation, maintaining that taxes should have direct relationship with the economy.
“But in Cross River State the economy is going down while taxes are ever going up and this has impacted against hotel business. Most times when I discuss with these tax people I do encourage them to open my books to see the extent the business is surviving. If the business is good of course they will see it from the records. But they will say we are defaulting. We are hiding something. Yet I will argue with them that if they assess me to pay say N20,000 I should have been able to make N100,000. I wonder why they want to squeeze so much taxes from moribund businesses,” he said.

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