The Ghana Tourism Federation, GHATOF, has asked government to fast-track the disbursement of the stimulus package set aside to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic particularly in the hospitality sector.
Aside from the aviation sector, the tourism and hospitality industry globally, is the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Ghana is no exception.
The closure of borders, restrictions on public gatherings and the closure of tourist sites and drinking spots, which were only recently opened by government, meant that hotels, pubs, night clubs and cinemas can either not operate at all or operate at full capacity.
This has caused job losses, and left owners of these facilities frustrated. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on businesses generally, government announced a support scheme of 600 million for Small and Medium Enterprises.
Government has also launched a 9 million US dollar grant from the International Development Agency of the World Bank under the Ghana Tourism Development Project, solely for SMEs and registered individual enterprises in the tourism and hospitality industry.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Tourism Federation, Emmanuel Frimpong, although members of the Association which includes Night clubs, pubs, and hotels have applied for the GHS600 Million SME loan, they are yet to receive the money.
“Owners of Pubs, Cinemas and Night clubs don’t know when they will be given the opportunity to open their businesses. The drinks that they bought have expiry dates before they were closed down; they haven’t been used all this while, then it means they cannot do anything with them now.”
“As far as we are concerned, our members have not received the loans that government has promised, and we want to find out why because we are going through difficult times. Businesses are going down, people have lost their lives, all sorts of things are happening in the industry, and we need that support from government now more than ever,” he lamented.