What on earth do the owners of hotels have to do with bicycles at this time when all one sees in front of hotels are exotic cars that will make one's imagination run wild?

The Hotel Owners Forum (HOFA) in Nigeria's Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, are crying out over multiple taxation that is "sucking our business dry".

They want the government to address the issue, claiming that they are confronted with over 25 different taxes to pay, with some of them as high as 500,000 Naira.

The President of the HOFA, Dr Chike Ezeudeh, claimed that hotel owners have been made to pay several levies that sound funny and do not reflect realities of this time.

“It is not easy when you have a business and you are confronted with over 25 different taxes to pay, with some of them as high as 500,000 Naira.

“The names of some of the taxes are so funny. They have what is called Bicycle and Cart levies, which is over 250,000 Naira.

“They also have `parking tax’, which is between 250,000 Naira and 500,000 Naira. This is so frustrating.

“Most hotels cannot pay these taxes, and if they try to pay such, they will be out of business; no hotel business can survive after paying all these bills.

“The worst of it is that Abuja Metropolitan Area Council in the name of enforcing tax payment, will come with police and seal the hotels while international guests and others are in their rooms,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria.

He said that such development was not good for the image of the hospitality industry in particular and the country in general.

“The enforcement strategy is crude; there is always a better way of doing things without inflicting hardship that will make business owners to close shop.’’

The HOFA president pointed out that the forum would not stop the government from generating revenue, but demanded that it should be done with a human face.

He has since met with the Minister of the FCT, Muhammad Bello, seeking the reduction and harmonisation of the numerous taxes, to allow hotel operators pay with ease.

“The minister is a kind person; he understands the plight of business owners in Abuja and promised to look into the issues.

“The truth is that when taxes are high, business owners may not be able to pay, and some unpatriotic officials will like to take bribe and write off some levies.

“There should be reduction and harmonisation of the taxes for hotel operators.

“If done, they will pay and not retrench their workers. This will boost the economy of the country," Ezeudeh stressed.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the taxes and levies being paid by hotels owners in Abuja are entertainment, tenement, business premises and local council.

Others are billboard, radio permit, Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS), fire service and many others.

So the next time you get to Abuja and find a hotel room is still expensive, blame it on the 250,000 Naira Bicycle and Cart levies.