By Saby Elemba, Owerri
There are loud and bitter lamentations now in Imo State within the Imo State Hoteliers Association (ISHA) circle over the protracted astronomical increase in the price of diesel per litre which has made some top managers in the industry to contemplate increases on their prices in order to keep their businesses afloat .
Others are also contemplating to stick to their current prices but to run their generating sets from 7:00 am to 12 midnight and shut down daily to ensure that they keep their hotels afloat.
Chima Chukwunyere, the Chairman of the Imo State Hoteliers (ISHA) Association and managing director( MD/CEO), Domino Paramount Hotel, at Chikwere Street, Owerri, in a telephone chat with MoneyCentral. decried the skyrocketing price of a litre of diesel which he said has hit hard at the hotel and hospitality industry.
“The business is dying. We were buying diesel at N200 per litre, but now look at the price, getting to almost N700 per litre. Many of our members are weighing different options, either to increase prices to be able to meet up or some are looking at taking decisions to shutdown their generators as soon as it is 12 midnight and switching on again by 7.00 am. Either way, the options will have devastating effects on the industry.” Chukwunyere said.
He added “but for me, the best thing is that instead of shutting down the power generating sets by 12 midnight and putting them on by say 7:00 am, the best thing is to increase prices in order to help the sector survive. It is the sector that helps to stem the rising unemployment in Imo as well as reduces the rate of crimes and criminality in the state.”
Consequently, the ISHA chairman called on captains of industries, investors and those he described as critical stakeholders in the hotel and hospitality sector to put heads together and take a firm stand that could ensure the sector does not collapse and “be very wise and know what to do. If the airlines should increase their fare, why won’t the hotels increase theirs in order to meet up?”
A senior manager in one of the standard hotels around Imo Concorde Hotel axis who spoke on condition of anonymity bemoaned the high cost of diesel. He informed that their diesel supplier has been searching to see how he could get the product at a tolerable price and could not see but ended up in buying the product at N700 per litre, according to him “the price may reach as high as N1000 per litre, the industry is in a terrible situation.”
Another senior manager in one of the standard hotels at Works Layout in Owerri, who also craved anonymity said, “it is a very terrible situation, the price of diesel is currently at N700 per litre. This is causing a high rate of operational costs. We are not talking of profits again, we are now sourcing money from other places to run the business, pay staff salaries.
“Initially, we were spending around N245,000 monthly to N300,000 on diesel but currently we are spending N700,000 for diesel per month, so it is a very terrible condition.”