Truth be told the core challenges faced by the Tourism industry include; the deplorable conditions of roads leading to the major tourist sites in Ghana, which critically affects both domestic tourism and discourages private sector involvement; non-existence of basic necessities such as proper sanitation, signage, restaurants, etc. at most tourist sites among others. While the 2018 budget has stated the need to leverage private partnerships to develop the tourism sector, specifically tourism infrastructure, the public purse will still have to make significant contributions. In the 2017 budget, allocations to capital expenditure (CAPEX) for tourism decreased significantly (74.42%) from GHS 4.3 million in 2016, to GHS 1.10 million in 2017.
However, in the 2018 budget, allocation to CAPEX has increased from GHS 1.10 million in 2017 to GHS 16.7 million in 2018. This is generally a very good change, assuming that actual disbursement equals projections. It reflects the government’s realisation that increased spending in tourism has great potential to drive economic growth and create jobs.
Well, not long ago we heard the tourism ministry was going to build hotels. Instead of using the state’s GHS 16m to build AKWAABA HOTELS, the amount should be used primarily to upgrade existing publicly owned tourist sites and infrastructure that will facilitate their access. The government should then ensure proper private management that is efficient and profitable. The private sector must be left alone to decide to build new tourism facilities, including the so-called AKWAABA hotels. This should not be the priority of government!
So the question is, has the government given the GHS 16m to the Tourism Ministry? What did the ministry use the money for if disbursed? Why would the Ministry plan to spend GHS 45 m of a World Bank loan to build capacity when the state is allocating it GHS 16m for capital investment?