Thousand four-hundred and thirty tourism businesses in Ghana have lost the opportunity to access the World Bank Tourism Grant due to reasons including the lack of valid business certificate from the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA).
A valid GTA certificate and license is considered a basic requirement alongside business registration certificate from the Registrar General’s Department to access the grant. Unfortunately, most entities who applied for the grant, lacked the above credentials and more.
In a recent meeting between the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) and the Manager of the World Bank Tourism Grant in Ghana and the grant’s consultant, Ernst & Young (E&Y), it was disclosed that, by July, 2020, only 40 tourism enterprises out of 1,470 applicants have qualified to access the fund.
The meeting, according to GHATOF, was held as a result of the seemingly delays in the disbursement of the grant, and the need to update members of the federation on the supposed delay.
Others reasons for the low qualifications, include, the lack of requisite information to complete the application. While a number of them could not come up with business plans to support their application, others could not articulate clearly why they need the grants, how it will impact their businesses and the sector as a whole.
Majority of applicants also lacked an audited financial accounts to enable them access the fund.
Meanwhile, several things in the grants document did not anticipate the informal nature of the tourism and hospitality sector in the country as that became a major disadvantage to applicants.
E&Y noted that 90 percent of the 1,470 applicants were sent emails to acknowledge their expression of interest for the grant.
While 500 out of the 1,470 applications were considered to have passed the expression of interest stage and applications forms sent to all the 500 applicants, only 130 actually went ahead to complete their application and sent to the grant’s office via online.
Out of the 130 reviewed, just 40 applications were deemed to be ‘good’ and forwarded to the grant’s Committee who actually approved most of the 40 tourism businesses to access the money.
On the way forward, E&Y advised that those who expressed interest or applied and have not heard anything should send the names of their companies to GHATOF to forward to the Grants Manager.
GHATOF has also agreed to engage the World Bank, Bank of Ghana, MoTAC and the Grants Management firm in a meeting which is yet to be confirmed to discuss other issues related to accessing the grant.
In June this year, the Ghana Tourism Development Project (GTDP) was launched with funds from the International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank Group.
The initiative offered an amount of US$9 million to revitalize tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana and to make an impact in the tourism and hospitality sector of Ghana’s economy.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe