The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Honourable Barbara Oteng Gyasi, on Wednesday 24th June, 2020 launched a fund to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Small and Medium Enterprises in the tourism value chain in Ghana.
The fund is a grant scheme facility under a World Bank project at the Tourism Ministry, which is geared towards supporting and building the capacity of operators in the hospitality and tourism sector in Ghana.
The Senior Minister Hon. Yaw Osafo-Maafo who was the special guest of honour, indicated that the scheme has come at an opportune time, considering the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious toll on tourism-related businesses in the country.
According to the Senior Minister, the United Nations World Tourism Organization had estimated that the Small and Medium Enterprises which make up about 80 percent of tourism products are expected to be badly hit by the novel COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
Mr. Osafo Maafo, also used the occasion to assure stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism industry, that government is committed to help turn the economic fortunes of the industry and thereby improve upon the well-being of Ghanaians.
The Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Honourable Barbara Oteng- Gyasi, asked stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunity being offered them as a way of supporting them to come out of their current situation brought about as a result of the pandemic.
She urged operators in the hospitality industry who would be successful in accessing the funds to judiciously use the funds for their intended purposes, since it has the propensity to spur growth in Ghana’s tourism sector.
On his part, the Acting Project Coordinator, of the Ghana Tourism Development Project, Mr. Divine Kwame Owusu Ansah, indicated that there were modalities involved in accessing the fund. He stressed that, for an individual or a venture to qualify for the grant, the applicant, among other things must have registered with the Registrar General's Department and be a Ghanaian operating in the tourism value chain venture in Ghana.
He added that interested persons and businesses have between June 24 and July 8, this calendar year to put in their expression of interest on the tourism Ministry’s website.
CATEGORIES OF THE GRANT
The grant is in three phases, the Site Upgrade grant (SUG) which is a marching Grant, aimed at supporting operators of Non- Publicly owned tourist sites to undertake quality upgrades of their sites.
The second category, which is the Small and Medium Enterprise Grant (SMEG) will, however, support firms with already viable businesses prospects and well-developed business plans. This grant can also be applied for by sole proprietorships and enterprises.
While the third category is the Training and Capacity Building Grant, which is also targeting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with new business ideas, less and not well-developed businesses.
The world bank Grant is a $ 40- million facility extended to the Government of Ghana, under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture which is the first of its kind in the history of the tourism ministry in Ghana, to support the Government’s continuous quest to develop the tourism and hospitality landscape, and has 4- year project duration spanning from 2019 to 2022.
Meanwhile, an initial capital of $ 9-Million has been allocated to support about 1,000 businesses in the tourism value chain in Ghana regarding the Grant scheme launched for the SMEs in the tourism sector.