The tourism industry no doubt contributes substantially to the Gross Domestic Products [GDP] of Ghana. According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre [GIPC], the number of tourism visits from 2006 to 2011 had shown a steady increase with an average growth of 17%.
From 497,129 international visitors in 2006, more than 1,000,000 people visited Ghana in 2011.
By 2014, tourists’ visits had hit 1.2m whilst the sector recorded staggering $2.1 billion revenue to the state in addition to employing over 410,000 people.
The $2.1 billion revenue recorded in 2014 has confirmed the estimation made by World Economic Forum in 2012, which valued Ghana’s tourism sector at $2.102 billion that was about 5.2% of the GDP at the time.
The investment in the Travel & Tour sub-sector alone, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, hit GHȼ 674.5m or 2.7% of total investment in 2014. The Council estimated a fall of 3.1% in 2015, and rise by 2.9% per annum over the next ten years to GHȼ 870.3m in 2025.
Regrettably, the sector that lays the golden egg, which is the fourth largest exchange earner for the country, is least funded by the government. In the 2016 budget for instance, only a paltry sum of GH¢39 million was allocated to the sector. As a result, the ministry is simply broke and cannot even afford to pay for the promotional exams of its staff. The hardest hit, The Chronicle understands, is the National Commission on Culture.
Credible information available to The Chronicle indicates that for close to four years now, no promotional exam has been organized due to lack of funds. As a result, there have been agitations among the workers who are close to retirement to force their management to organize their promotional exams.
This agitation from the workers, The Chronicle was told, has forced the Tourism Ministry and the National Commission on Culture to do the unthinkable – levying the workers to buy the needed logistics to organize the examination when that should have been the preserve of the government.
In a letter dated February 5, 2016 and signed by Mr. William Boateng, Director in charge of planning, he directed the over hundred affected workers to contribute GHȼ 100.00 each towards the promotional exams.
Boateng’s letter reads: “Government subventions for administrative activity expenses have not been forthcoming as expected for the medium term. The Commission is supposed to organize promotion interviews from Senior Cultural Officer to Principal Cultural through Deputy Director to Director.
Since 2013, we have not been able to carry out that responsibility due to dwindling Government subventions.
Without precedent, it has never been the wish of the Commission to impose any levy or to solicit financial contributions from any of its agencies to conduct promotion interviews for staff.
By By Emmanuel Akli