Visa barrier affects Tourism, Minister tells D-8

Solomon Chung, Abuja

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed  has advised D-8 countries to do away with visa barriers to enable free movement among members states, according to him, visa liberalization is what would guarantee free and successful trade.

He submitted that with such policy in place, the volume of trade would be unimaginable.

He said there was need for proper synergy among the countries so as to utilize their God given potentials.

He disclosed this when a representative of the D-8 paid him a courtesy call in his office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city on Wednesday.

“Tourism should have been one of the major priorities of the organisation because all the member countries have huge tourism potentials and tourism is a natural and the greatest foreign exchange spinner.”

The Minister also said Nigeria’s tourism potentials are huge but there are factors that are inhibiting the growth of the sector.

He said there was no way a tourism sector that lacks the requisite infrastructure would develop to its full or optimal capacity and that is one of the factors affecting Nigeria’s tourism sector.

“The dearth of infrastructure has drawn us back as a country in this sector. We want to revamp our domestic tourism because that will propel international tourism and also build our local economy.”

On his part, the representative of the D-8, Dr. Sa’id Mohammed revealed that the D8 has finalised plans to include tourism as part of the body’s form of cooperation.

He said as part of such arrangement, there would be a ministerial meeting of member countries in respect of tourism very soon.

“As an organisation, we are counting on Nigeria as an experienced member state for proper guidance in their activities.”

The D-8 also known as Developing-8 organisation for economic cooperation is a group of countries that came together for economic partnership among members.

Member states include; Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Egypt with a population of over 1 billion people put together.