The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has received a US$50million grant from the World Bank to support its activities and agencies to make the sector more vibrant.
Addressing the media at the ‘Meet the Press’ series in Accra, the sector minister Catherine Afeku explained that the grant’s prime focus is to: Support reforms in the Ghana Strategy and Sector Development Implementation Roadmap; and focus on fostering inter-sectoral stakeholder linkages and efforts coordination.
Others include: capacity building to create a skilled workforce in the hospitability, tourism and creative arts sector; facilitate beach sanitation; and support micro and small-scale enterprises with particular emphasis on women and youth empowerment.
She told the gathering that the grant facility was secured as a result of hard work and good policies and programmes that were contained in a proposal and submitted to the World Bank for consideration.
She described the facility as historic since it is the first-ever to be granted the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry since it was created.
Kintampo Waterfalls enjoying massive patronage
The minister also added that following re-opening of the Kintampo Waterfalls in the Brong Ahafo Region, the facility is enjoying massive patronage…unlike before.
“Just three months after re-opening of the Kintampo Waterfalls, 3,000 people have visited the facility. This is historic and very good for our country,” she noted when she took her turn at the Meet the Press series on Monday, to explain what her ministry has been able to achieve in the last year and what it intends doing going forward.
The Kintampo Waterfalls were rehabilitated and reopened to the public by Vice-President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in November 2017, eight months after being shut down following a freak accident that occurred in March and led to the death of about 18 people – mostly students who were on excursion.
Following successful implementation of the roadmap strategy in re-opening the Kintampo Waterfalls, the same will be adopted to ensure other tourist sites in the country are upgraded with their services improved to attract massive patronage.
The rehabilitation of Kintampo Waterfalls was financed from the Tourism Development Fund, which has since 2012 fetched over GH¢39million.
Despite efforts from the ministry to secure a grant from the World Bank, it still has to grapple with a meagre budget to finance its activities for 2018.
The budget allocation to the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts contained in the 2018 Budget is GH¢75.3million – out of which about GH¢18million is being devoted to capital expenditure. It is interesting to note that the ministry has 12 departments and agencies.
This budget allocation is not commensurate with the lofty initiatives promised by government.