Business News of Friday, 5 April 2013
Source: Graphic Business
Members of the Ghana Progressive Hotels Association (GHAPROHA) have expressed concern about the high registration and licensing fees introduced by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) for this year coupled with the power rationing situation which has affected the industry and subsequently crippled their operations.
The increase, according to GHAPROHA, is between 300 and 450 per cent over that of last year. While budget hotels paid a licensing fee of GH¢45 last year, they are expected to pay a licencing fee of GH¢150, a 1-star hotel which paid licensing fee of GH¢90 last year will pay GH¢250 this year, with 2-star hotels which paid GH¢225 paying GH¢1,000 this year.
GHAPROHA has, therefore, appealed to President John Dramani Mahama to personally intervene to save the tourism industry in Ghana. This was contained in a release signed by its National President, Nana Kodjo Opei IV, and copied to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, the Minister of Tourism, the Chief Executive Officer of the GTA and the President of Ghana Tourism Federation.
The release said members also appealed to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Tourism, the Ministry of Finance and the GTA to immediately suspend the current high tariffs and engage the leadership in the private tourism industry in negotiations on different tariffs to allow for peaceful coexistence among the private and governmental agencies.
The release observed that in the spirit of public-private partnership, it was imperative for leaders in the hotel/ tourism industry to get directly involved in GTA’s annual fee fixing to make informed inputs into the intended tourism fees for 2013 to maintain a balanced working relationship between the private sector and the government.
Touching on the plight of operators in the industry, the release said for several months hotels and other tourism-related establishments had been experiencing serious power outages and water shortages, which had affected their businesses and led to the closure of their facilities.
It enumerated the obligations of property rate, asset fees, corporate tax, VAT, insurance levy, customs excise duties, airport service charges, Fire Service and Environmental Protection Agency fees, among others, as some of its numerous responsibilities.
Like all other employment agencies, hotels and other tourism players were expected to pay befitting salaries, social security contributions, hospital expenses and other expenditure without which workers were likely to lay down their tools, resort to court action against their employers or seek the intervention of labour unions, the release stated.