HON. YAW OSARFO-MAAFO, SNR. MINISTER
HON. KWADWO OPPONG-NKRUMAH, MINISTER FOR INFORMATION
COLLEAGUES HON. MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS
MEMBERS OF GTDP NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE
HEADS OF AGENCIES,
OUR FRIENDS FROM THE MEDIA,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
I warmly welcome all our distinguished guests to the launching of the Ghana Tourism Development Project’s Grants for SMEs and Tourism Enterprises.
Today is a special day for us in the tourism and hospitality industry. As we are all aware the tourism and hospitality industry has been identified as a strategic pillar for the transformation of our economy and the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
Ladies and Gentlemen, over the years, the Ministry has lived up to its responsibilities to improve the Tourism sector by marketing Ghana to the international community as well as domestically.
Last year, Ghana hosted the ‘Year of Return’ to commemorate the 400 anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and celebrate African resilience. Now we have initiated ‘Beyond the Return’ a project spanning a ten-year period 2020-2030 to consolidate the gains made during the ‘Year of return’.
In 2019, during the ‘Year of Return’ we witnessed our brothers and sisters visit our country from all parts of the diaspora bridging the gap between Africans in the Diaspora and the African Continent and also contributing to our country’s economy in terms of revenue generation, job creation and recognition in the international community.
In our quest to improve leisure tourism in this country, the Nana Akufo-Addo government solicited for a facility from the International Development Agency of the World Bank Group to implement the Ghana Tourism Development Project and today we are privileged to launch an aspect of it, which is the Grants Scheme.
Hon. Snr. Minister, the Tourism Development Project has four main components and these are:
- Component 1: Strengthening Tourism Enabling Environment: This component aims to address tourism enabling constraints most likely to have transformative impact on the tourism sector in Ghana such as
- Training and skills development of the industry
- Aviation and entry visa policy, and
(iii)Tourism branding and marketing
- Component 2: Developing Tourism Sites and Destinations: This component seeks to diversify the leisure tourism offering in Ghana by identifying and upgrading the most promising destination areas. These are sites that show significant public goods requirements and circuit-tourism potential, and can draw increased demand from both domestic and international visitors;
- Component 3: Tourism Enterprise Support: This component’s objective is to provide tourism SMEs with the opportunity to improve their business planning, formalize their businesses, and apply for matching grants to upgrade their tourism products and services.
- Component 4: Project Management: This component will provide support to Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MoTAC) to manage and coordinate the project.
Since approval was given for the Project implementation, we have achieved some successes, despite certain initial implementation challenges at the onset.
I am happy to report that the project has embarked on renovation of selected tourist sites and these activities are at various levels of completion.
We are also working on the human resource capacity of the industry players and very soon we will outdoor the plans for the establishment of state of the art tourism and hospitality training institutions in selected Regions of the country.
I am happy to say that the beneficiaries to be supported under this Grant scheme comprise mainly Ghanaian indigenous businesses in the tourism value chain, including micro businesses that employ between 1 to 5 persons, small businesses that employ between 6 to 30 people, and medium businesses that employ 31 to 100 people.
In addition to the above, the project’s intervention encourages support to women owned and or women led businesses in the tourism sector.
Hon. Snr. Minister, we have worked on all modalities that are required to enable us disburse the Grants within the next few weeks. Notably among the activities is the engagement of a Grants Management Firm. An experienced entity in Grants administration whose role among others will be to reconcile the financial records of the grantee, collect and verify end-of-project information on performance targets and data and execute disbursement.
A five member Grants Committee to supervise the execution of the grant scheme has also been put in place.
Hon. Ministers, I wish to thank the World Bank Task Team for their support in going through the processes to ensure efficient disbursement of the Fund.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the Hon. Minister for Finance, Director of External Resource Mobilisation Department of the Ministry of Finance and her team, the Grants Management Firm and my team at the Project Coordinating Unit of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for their dedication and commitment to the project.
It is my fervent hope that beneficiaries shall utilise the funds for the intended purposes to enable us achieve the project’s developmental objectives.
I wish to reiterate that the ministry will undertake a vigorous monitoring and evaluation exercise to ensure that the funds are used to develop the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Hon. Snr. Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you all for coming and look forward to a successful disbursement of the GTDP Grants Scheme.
Thank you and may God bless us all.