Ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations, recreational park operators and traders, have urged the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) to review its bills, to promote their business growth.
Some park operators and traders, who spoke in separate interviews with newsmen in Abuja, complained that bills they were paying hindered their operations.
Newsmen, who visited some of the parks in Abuja, reported that some of the parks were decorated to reflect the festive season celebration mood.
Mr Abdullahi Kaku, Managing Director of the Maitama Amusement Park, said that a lot of programmes had been designed for fun seekers to celebrate Christmas at the place.
He said although most people had developed fear to celebrate Christmas in the park owing to insecurity, there had been improvement in patronage.
He identified operational bills often paid to FCTA to hinder the business growth and therefore urged the authority to review its tax, to enable the business to thrive.
According to him, “we have designed programmes such as comedy show and fun fair for fun seekers, on Dec. 24, 25 and 26 in preparation for Christmas and New Year.
Kaku said “the economy may not have been back to shape, but it is getting a lot better because there is increase in the level of patronage.
“Our challenge has been payment of lot of bills to FCTA, despite the fact that park business operation is capital intensive.
“It is not a business you sell tomatoes or yam, rather you invest so much and the return is always slow, if bills are reduced this year will be better.
“The authority should review its bills to encourage business operations; park is meant for people to leave, enjoy quality time and relax with their loved ones.’’
Another operator at Magic Land who pleaded anonymity, said that measures had been put on ground to host fun seekers during during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
He said exciting ride and games were put in the environment to encourage fun fair during the festive celebration.
“We are prepared to host fun seekers on Christmas and New Year celebration, we look forward to large patronage.
“Our challenge had only been cost of operational bills often charged by the FCTA; we hope they review it to encourage the business growth,’’ he said.
In separate interviews, some traders, photographers and fun seekers at some parks complained of low patronage due to the cost of transportation and gate fees.
Mrs Rosemary Tom, a petty trader at the Millennium Park, said that the business was better when compared to last year’s festive season.
“ We are here to sell but there is low turnout of people at the park; sales this year have been poor; we only hope it will get better on Christmas day,’’ she said.
Mr Matthew Ogbeche, who spoke on behalf of photographers at the Millennium Park, said there was low patronage at the place as at the time of filing report.
According to him, “we want government to create enabling environment for park operators to reduce the charges on bills to encourage more business in the environment.
Meanwhile, a fun seeker, Mr Okechuku Omeruo, said although Christmas was time for celebration, gate fees at recreational parks could pose discouragement to patronise the place.
Omeruo, who spoke at the Millennium Park in Abuja, said this year’s Christmas celebration seemed difficult for him due to inadequate fund to foot domestic bills and patronise parks.
“Last year, I had fun but this year seems unusual because until now I have not received my salary.
“I want government to make it easy for people to access parks to ease-off stress, irrespective of economic situation.
Another fun seeker, Mr Uchenna Micheal, said last year’s Christmas was celebrated in good mood, because there was no challenge on traveling.
According to him, government should release funds to pay salary on time during Christmas to encourage more people to patronise recreational parks.