President Nana Ado Dankwa Akufo -Addo, has launched a $10 million Tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) grants scheme under the Ghana Tourism Development Project to help cushion and revive businesses affected by the COVID -19 pandemic.
The Grants, a government of Ghana initiative supported by the World which are in three categories, namely, COVID relief support, SME support and site upgrade are intended to help transform the Tourism Sector to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. It is expected that some 1,500 SMEs will benefit from the grant with 60 percent of them being women. Speaking at the launch in Accra on Wednesday, President Nana Addo said disbursement of the Grant is in line with his government’s efforts to support the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the Tourism and Arts value chain to recover from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and help create the needed jobs for the people. The President said although the hospitality, Creative Arts sectors is a major contributor to the country’s development, it is arguably one of the most impacted by the pandemic as evidenced in the 75% decline in international tourism arrivals in 2020 and 45 per cent reduction in 2021 hence the need to marshal all the needed support to revamp the sector. He noted that through prudent management of the pandemic, the sector is rebounding after government undertook some bold measures which saved lives and livelihoods, businesses as well as the easing of restrictions. He said his government remains committed to building a business environment that enhances entrepreneurship, a vital component of economic growth and development which has been globally embraced as an important driver of economic activity and transformation. “Government remains committed to ensure that the private sector is able to function effectively by building an ecosystem that creates opportunities for businesses to grow and create jobs for the youth He added that the development of entrepreneurship has the potential to respond to specific development objectives such as the employment of women and the youth. “It is in this direction that the government through the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has this year supported SMES in the Tourism and hospitality and creative arts sector with a grant of $10 million to enhance and expand their businesses “ The grant will assist operators in the sector modernise and improve tourist sites, restaurants, tour operations, event organisation and related businesses to become attractive and competitive. The president noted that in 2021, government through the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, disbursed $10M to some 1,400 SMEs. Additionally, the President said currently, some 10, 000 operators in the Tourism value chain are being trained by the Ghana Tourism Authority under the Ghana Cares Abaatampa Programme to improve their skills in customer service delivery which is vital to the growth of the sector. “Governments agenda to make Ghana a regional tourism hub is being pursued with zeal “ President Nana Addo noted that, In as much as government stands by its responsibility create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive, it is incumbent on the private sector to ensure that their business are properly structured and governed in accordance with the principles of good corporate governance. He added that even though Ghana can boast of several world-ranking companies that have demonstrated commitment to good corporate governance structures poor corporate governance has been cited as a major factor that has led to the collapse of many businesses in the country. “As Ghanaian businesses compete globally, to attract foreign investment partnerships they must be guided by the fact that the investors are prepared to pay a premium for shares in a well-governed company” The President commended that World Bank for supporting the initiative through the Ghana Tourism Development project. “We continue to value the partnership of the World Bank in our development journey “ Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, Minister for Tourism , Arts and Culture reiterated government’s commitment to adequately resource the tourism sector to enable it contribute effectively to national transformation and growth He added that the Tourism sector remains a key element in the government’s economic transformative agenda and thus assured all industry players that government will do all in its power to make the industry strive. “We are not abandoning you at any time at all”, he said President, Ghana Hotels Association Dr Edward Ackah-Nyameke Jnr said the Travel and Hospitality Industry if well-resourced has the potential to spearhead the economic development of the country by supporting wealth creating to rake in the needed revenue and create jobs. He acknowledged the President’s commitment to advancing the development of the industry SOURCE: The Finder | Ghana