From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Hoteliers in Imo State have threatened to withdraw their services if the state’s Environmental Transformation Commission (ENTRACO) continues to harass and illegally collect fees from its members.

Briefing reporters, the Imo chairman of the association of hoteliers, Chima Chukwuyenre, alleged that the commission, despite the ban on consultants from collecting revenues in the state by the governor, had gone ahead engaging consultants to demand fees they ascribed as fines accrued since 2018 from the hoteliers.

According to Chukwuyenre, ENTRACO through its consultants had allegedly earlier in the year sealed 35 hotels in the state for failing to comply with sums of money demanded as penalty for non-remittance of their levies.

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Governor Hope Uzodinma’s quick intervention, Chukwuyenre said, had prevented the hoteliers from shutting down hotels in the State as he ordered the ban on consultants.

But he said that he is surprised that the governor’s ban seemed not to have any effect again as the consultants he added have been going about sealing hotels in the state.

‘Government has ordered the disengagement of consultants, but they are still demanding illegal fees from us, the ranges from N800,000 to N1 million.

‘And they have chosen to do this now when the fate of the hospitality business is shaky because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are calling on the state government to call them to order or we would shut down all hotels in Imo,’ Chukwuyenre threatened.