A panel of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, led by Justice Suleiman Galadima, has unanimously declared that it was only state Houses of Assembly that could make laws on tourism or the licensing and grading of hotels and other hospitality establishments, such as restaurants, fast food outlets.
According to the court, the 1999 Constitution only empowered the National Assembly to regulate tourist traffic, “a term which does not include hotels grading and licencing”.
It validated both the Hotel Licencing Law of Lagos State (as amended), and Hotel Occupancy and Consumption Law, declaring as null and void the conflicting sections of the NTDC Act.
The Lagos State government has commended the Supreme Court judgment which stripped the Nigerian Tourism Development Commission (NTDC) of powers to regulate hotels operations in the state.
Commending the Supreme Court for its verdict, Mr Disu Holloway, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism and Intergovernmental Relations said the verdict vindicated the consistent position of the state government that the grading and licensing of hotels were exclusive responsibilities of the state, adding that it was a “victory for true federalism”.
“This is a landmark judgment and we commend the Supreme Court for upholding the tenets of true federalism.
“It is our expectation that this judgment will eradicate multiplicity of taxation and regulation, thereby enabling the states to take charge and plan for the hospitality industry in their respective territories,” he said.