The National Hospitality Association of Ghana (NHAG) has appealed to President Akufo-Addo to consider reopening restaurants for business as a matter of urgency.

According to them, their businesses have suffered terribly from government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and that if the ban is not lifted soon, it could possibly lead to more harm for the Tourism industry.

In a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the NHAG, Theodore Dzeble, the NHAG expressed their displeasure about the re-closure of restaurants and hotels by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi barely hours after the Ghana Tourism Authority had given them the green light to operate.

“While we support and even commend the government for the bold and progressive steps it has taken to safeguard the health, wellbeing and security of every Ghanaian in the fight against the coronavirus, these actions directly impact negatively on the hospitality industry perhaps more than any other sector of our economy, and serious considerations, exemptions and financial support would be required urgently to revamp the industry,” the statement read.

They are therefore calling on government to freeze exiting levies and taxes on the industry during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

“In addition, we are calling on government to subsidize utility tariffs by 65%, reduce import duty on food and drinks, and arrange with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to pay 50 percent of the salaries of our staff, majority of whom have been rendered jobless as a result of the shutdown.”

They further called on government to back its promise of facilitating a 6 month moratorium on bank loans with tangible action and encourage landlords to suspend commercial rent throughout the period of inactivity to lessen the burden on proprietors.

According to the NHAG, they are ready and prepared to adhere to the strict safety protocols announced by the Ghana Tourism Authority to help curb the spread of the virus and as well, see to the economic recovery of the Tourism industry.    

“We are therefore calling on the President to urgently consider reopening the restaurants even if partially, to protect and safeguard the jobs of thousands of Ghanaians.”