September 22, 2020

Mid-Year budget: Hoteliers demand modalities on gov’t interventions amid COVID-19

Players in the hospitality industry say they expect the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to provide clear modalities on how government intends to help their businesses bounce back in the upcoming Mid-Year budget review following the negative impact of COVID-19.

At a meeting with President Akufo-Addo, the hospitality industry made up of different associations explained that most of their members do not qualify for the GHS1 billion cedis stimulus package to be disbursed by the National Board for Small Scale Mining because their staff strength exceeds 95.

Even though government has set aside various financial packages to aid players in the hospitality industry just like other sectors, the size and operations of some of the hospitality sector players, means that they do not qualify for packages targeted at SMEs.

Despite assurances from the presidency that such businesses will be re-categorized under a 3 billion cedis stimulus package, the President of the Ghana Hotels Association, Dr. Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, told Citi Business News they are yet to receive clear communication on when the funds will be disbursed.

“We haven’t had any clear feedback on when that money is coming, how it will be sourced and how it will be disbursed. I want to see a statement or a line about that three billion cedis as the Finance Minister is going to read the mid-year budget. I must also say that time is of the essence and if the support does not come early, it will end up destroying a lot of businesses. So, we urge government to ensure that these interventions come in at the right time so that the industry players will benefit from it,” he said.

Even though small operators in the tourism industry are supposed to benefit from a 9 million dollar World Bank grant and the GH1 billion NBSSI disbursement, Dr. Ackah-Nyamike Jnr says their members have not received support from any of the funds even though they have applied.

“Every intervention is worthwhile in such situations. Of course, we appreciate the Ministry’s announcement of the 9-million-dollar grant to the industry. However, I need to point out that, I am yet to get feedback from our members about the NBSSI disbursement, even though they have applied. It has been about four weeks and we thought it will come early enough. We are also four months into the pandemic. We will urge the Ministry to fast forward the process so that the beneficiaries can get value for money,” he said.

Source: Business