Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has, launched a $9 million tourism support programme aimed at financially assisting Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs), within the tourism, hospitality, arts and culture sectors.
The Scheme, "Grant for SMEs and Tourism Enterprise" forms an aspect of the Ghana Tourism Development Project which was initiated by the Government of Ghana to improve leisure and business tourism with grants from the International Development Agency of the World Bank.
At the launch of the scheme today, the sector Minister, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi said work has been completed on all modalities that are required to enable the disbursement of the grants within the next few weeks.
"Notably among the activities is the engagement of a Grants Management Firm. An experienced entity in Grants administration whose role among others will be to reconcile the financial records of the grantee, collect and verify end-of-project information on performance targets and data and execute disbursement.
A five member Grants Committee to supervise the execution of the grant scheme has also been put in place," she said.
Oteng-Gyasi also that, "I am happy to say that the beneficiaries to be supported under this Grant scheme comprise mainly Ghanaian indigenous businesses in the tourism value chain, including micro businesses that employ between 1 to 5 persons, small businesses that employ between 6 to 30 people, and medium businesses that employ 31 to 100 people.
In addition to the above, the project’s intervention encourages support to women owned and or women led businesses in the tourism sector."
Performing the official launch, Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo said considering that the tourism and hospitality sectors are the hardest hit in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, he hopes beneficiaries will take advantage of the Grants to provide cushioning to their businesses.
He urged operators to "make success of the Scheme in order to attract more money," as the $9 million is thought to be an initial facility from the World Bank.
The Scheme will target up to a 1,000 businesses under three Grant categories of the Tourism Development Project. They include, Site Upgrade, SMEs and Training and Capacity Building.
The Tourism Development Project has four main components and these are:
Strengthening Tourism Enabling Environment
This component aims to address tourism enabling constraints most likely to have transformative impact on the tourism sector in Ghana such as
Training and skills development of the industry
Aviation and entry visa policy, and Tourism branding and marketing
Developing Tourism Sites and Destinations
This component seeks to diversify the leisure tourism offering in Ghana by identifying and upgrading the most promising destination areas. These are sites that show significant public goods requirements and circuit-tourism potential, and can draw increased demand from both domestic and international visitors
Tourism Enterprise Support
This component’s objective is to provide tourism SMEs with the opportunity to improve their business planning, formalize their businesses, and apply for matching grants to upgrade their tourism products and services.
This component will provide support to Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MoTAC) to manage and coordinate the project.
Acting Coordinator of the Tourism Development Project, Divine Owusu Ansah said, the Grant can be accessed by any individual or business within the tourism, hospitality, arts and culture value chain once they meet its requirements.