HON. KWADWO OPPONG-NKRUMAH, MINISTER FOR INFORMATION
HON. JOHN PETER AMEWU, MINISTER FOR ENERGY
HON. DR. ZIBLIM IDDI, DEP. MoTAC
HON. NANA AMA DOKUA, DEP. MINISTER FOR INFORMATION
CHIEF DIRECTORS PRESENT
CHIEF EXECUTIVES OFFICERS AND HEADS OF AGENCIES PRESENT
MEMBERS OF GTDP NATIONAL STEERING COMMITTEE
MEMBERS OF THE GRANT COMMITTEE,
OUR FRIENDS FROM THE MEDIA,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
I will like to extend a warm welcome to all our distinguished guests who are here today to witness the maiden announcement of the disbursement of Grants under the Ghana Tourism Development Project.
This Grant Scheme, as you maybe aware is being implemented under the Ghana Tourism Development Project of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to support SMEs, develop and improve the various Tourist Sites and also build capacity within the Tourism Sector.
It is barely three months since the scheme was launched and true to our words, the team at the Project’s Coordinating Unit, the Grants Management Team, the Grants Committee, in collaboration with the World Bank Task Team have worked assiduously to review over 1,400 Expression of Interests (EOIs). These firms, individuals and organisations were then invited to submit their proposals. Applicants who met all the necessary requirements, have been approved to receive the support. It is therefore my pleasure this morning to present to you, the first batch of recipients of the Grant.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastating effect on the tourism and hospitality industry globally and the proactive interventions like this by Government offers us the opportunity to revitalize and make a meaningful impact in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The Nana Government and indeed my Ministry believes that such support schemes through the participation of private sector enterprises, is an investment that will yield benefits to the tourism sector and the transformation of our economy which will eventually lead to the Ghana beyond Aid Agenda. As a Government, we recognise and believe in the special abilities and unique roles of the Private sector to positively impact on the tourism sector through the special initiatives and programmes such as this.
Today an amount totalling an equivalent of US$ 1.4 MILLION is being awarded to the first seventeen (17) beneficiaries to whom we say Congratulations - Ayekoo. Your business plans have been carefully assessed, you satisfactorily met all the requirements and have been selected on merit. Do seize the opportunity to add more value to your tourism products and services to stimulate tourism and the Ghanaian economy.
I wish you all the very best in your business endeavours and be assured that the Ministry and the team at the Project Coordinating Unit, in collaboration with the World Bank will continue to provide the necessary assistance and monitoring to ensure we derive the desired results for our mutual benefit and that of the Country at large.
Distinguished Guests, the Ministry remains resolute in efforts to see the Tourism sector bounce back. As indicated during the launch of the scheme three months ago, we are currently undertaking renovation works on selected tourist sites and I am happy to report that activities are progressing steadily at various levels of completion at the WLI waterfalls, TAFI AFOME Monkey Sanctuary, Paga Crocodile Pond, Nzulezu Village amongst others.
I am also excited to announce that in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ghana Immigration Service, we have launched the procurement process to select a firm to implement the Ghana Electronic Visa Programme (E-Visa) early next year. This is a major activity that will boost our tourism arrival figures as it will eliminate onerous visa application processes.
It is worthy to note that the well trained staff of the tourism and hospitality sector is a sire known for excellent service delivery. In this regard, the Ministry shall partner the private sector to establish state-of-the-art tourism and hospitality training institutions in some selected Regions of the country.
Ghana currently has become very attractive to tourists and investors from the African diasporic community in particular and the world generally. Hosting the ‘Year of Return’ to commemorate the 400 anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which celebrated African resilience, and the initiation of the ‘Beyond the Return’ project spanning a ten-year period 2020-2030 to consolidate the gains made during the ‘Year of Return’ has projected Ghana as a preferred tourist destination in West Africa.
The opening of our airports by H.E the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, coupled with the redevelopment of our sites through the Ghana Tourism Development Project, we are hopeful that these sites will be patronised by local revellers to assure our international tourists that our sites are safe. It is gratifying to say that my Ministry, under the Tourism Development Project has begun an aggressive marketing promotion of the country locally and internationally.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby announce that the second window for the submission of Expression of Interest for the Grant Scheme will be opened on Monday, 26th October, 2020 and therefore encourage as many as possible in the industry to take advantage and apply to benefit from the scheme.
For those who are yet to receive the results from the Grants Management Team, be assured that the team is reviewing the proposals received and will contact all applicants to inform the next steps required to facilitate approval and disbursement of funds.
Distinguished Guests may I take the opportunity to thank the World Bank Task Team for their continued support for the project to ensure efficient disbursement of the Funds.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the Hon. Minister for Finance, The Director of External Resource Mobilisation Department of the Ministry of Finance and her team, the Grants Management Firm, the Grants Committee and my team at the Project Coordinating Unit of the Ministry. I am fully aware that the task has not been easy but ‘there is always light at end of the tunnel’.
As a Ministry and Government, we are optimistic that the beneficiaries would utilise the funds for the intended purposes to enable us achieve the desired developmental objectives of the project.
I will like to reiterate that the Ministry and the project team will embark on an aggressive monitoring and evaluation exercise to ensure that the funds are put to the right use to develop the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Hon. Ministers, Hon. Deputy Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for coming.
May God bless us all and Our Homeland Ghana!