First Deputy Speaker Joe Osei Owusu: I was going for an international conference and when I got there, there was somebody who knew I was coming and also knew I was free on the week-end. I ended up with him in a jewelry shop and later bought a suit in another shop.
Haruna Iddrisu: what plans does the nominee have to promote young talents in the creative arts industry?
Nominee: says Creative Arts Council will be tasked to help expose artiste to a wider stage.
Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu: says the funeral of the queenmother of the Asante kingdom produced a rich display of Ghanaian culture which could have been promoted as tourist attraction.
Nominee: Royal funerals will receive attention from the Tourism ministry if nominee is approved.
Minority leader: asks about the promotion of Ghana’s forts and castles.
Nominee: We have 64 castles and forts only 18 are available to use. The nominee wants to help promote these sites to bring in tourism dollars
Nominee hypes a plan to promote tourism called the ‘Accra Marine Investment Drive’. It can create 500,00 jobs.
Deputy Majority leader Adwoa Safo: Our youths and children are watching telenovela which promotes other foreign cultures.
Nominee: In a free market space, it is very difficult to deal with these things. What we have to do is to support and encourage local content so that it can out-saturate foreign movies and telenovelas.
Deputy Majority leader: When you get to Ghana through the airport, there is nothing to sell about Ghana’s tourism. In Dubai, Singapore, people approach you with invitations to visit tourist sites. Can nominee assure the Committee, she will
Nominee: plans to set up an office at the airport to aggresively market Ghana’s tourism to foreigners.
Minority Chief Whip: asks nominee about how she will help market Ghana and attract tourists.
Nominee: I will have an interview with CNN to promote the tourism potential of the country. She says countries like Kenya where tourism is a major foreign exchange earner have a practical advantage over Ghana because of issues like sanitation. Ghana has a competitive advantage over Kenya but if sanitation is not addressed, tourism will continue to sufer.
Muntaka: I really want to know how you are going to get the private sector to participate in tourism.
Nominee: We have several departments and agencies under the Tourism ministry with some mandated to find investments into tourism.
Yileh Chireh: asks about preserving and promoting Ghana’s eco-tourism
Nominee: points to Aburi Botannical Gardens as an eco-tourist center and wants to improve conditions around such sites to boost patronage.
Nominee explains the presence of Kumawod actor ‘Agya Koo’ says he heard of her vetting and decided to come support his friend.
Nominee: bemoans the inability to leverage technology to facilitate tourism. She wants to see a day when a foreigner plan a tourist plan just by sitting behind a laptop.
Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga: What would be Ghana’s selling point four years in office?
Nominee: A sanitary environment, getting rid of open defecation along Ghana’s 540km coastal lines. Unless we fix the sanitation issue, we cannot compete effectively.
Bawku Central MP Mahama Ayariga: Would you consider taking advantage of the opportunities in medical tourism?
Nominee: It is already happening in Ghana but yes once given the nod it is an area to expand.
In response to a question from Ursula Owusu, the nominee Catherine Afeku responds: A presidential musuem for great political leaders to showcase their lives and the little things they used like furniture, clothes etc. This is to honour the lives of Ghana’s legends.
Nominee is asked about a fraud allegations.
MP: I have never been charged with fraud. I was asked to refund money and a car to a business partner after a simple relationship turned sour. The ruling is being challenged on Appeal in court after fresh evidence was obtained. Throughout this case, no allegation of fraud has been levelled against me.
Tamale South MP Sunhiyini: How is Hotel Paradise known to you?
Nominee: It is a group formed together with some of her friends in the US to set up a retirement hotel in the Western region.
Nominee wants to be given permission to allow an expert on local foods to demonstrate the potential of promoting Ghanaian foods. But Chairman disapproves of the proposal.
MP: What will nominee do to promote Ghanaian culture in the lifestyle choices of the youth especialling in the way they dress?
Nominee: We are in a global village so we should fuse Ghanaian culture with global trends.
OB Amoah: What do you think we should do to promote Ghana’s tourist sites
Nominee: Domestic tourism needs to be encouraged. She will dispatch Chief Directors to tourist sites to find out how the sites are being run.
Akuapem South MP OB Amoah: Section 21 of the Tourism Act talks about the Tourism Dev’t Fund. Do you have any idea of what the fund has been used for?
Nominee: According to the former government, the fund has GHC16m in investments and another GHC16million sitting with some banks. Some buses were bought and give nto the regional offices.
Bodi MP Sampson Ahi: Tourism and Creatve Arts has no law to regulate the industry.
Nominee: There is a bill already in the offing. She will push for the passage of the bill
Sampson Ahi: Tourism infrastructure is problematic. How will nominee help to bridge the huge industry deficit.
Nominee: Tourism is the fourth contributor to government revenue and so she will work with ministries such as Water and Sanitation to improve the amenities and address problems like open defecation.
MP: How are you going to enhance the effiecient running of hotels
Nominee: The entire service culture in the hospitality industry needs to be changed through training. She pledges to establish a top-notch training institute to improve the culture.
Catherine Afeku is taken through her CV where minor avoidable errors are corrected.
The Appointments Committee of Parliament is vetting Evalue Ajomoro-Gwira MP Catherine Afeku, for the position of Minister for Tourism, Culture and Arts.
This vetting is expected to bring out a controversy surrounding the nominee who has been accused of fraud.
Catherine and her husband, Seth Afeku, were directed by an Accra High Court in 2007 to pay $217,464.00 plus 50% interest to a US couple after charges of fraud were brought against them.
The Court, presided over by her Lordship Barbara Ackah-Yensu, ordered Catherine Afeku and her husband to pay the US couple, Patricia and Bill Gick the amount with interest.
Read: NPP’s Catherine Afeku found guilty of fraud
Afeku and her husband have, however, failed to pay the money, an action which compelled Mr. and Mrs. Gick to file a fifa application at the court to auction both movable and immovable properties of the ex-MP and husband. The court granted the application.
The Evalue-Gwira MP filed an appeal in 2013. The appeal is yet to be heard.