Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi

The National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) will from May begin the disbursement of some GH¢600 million to micro, small and medium enterprises in the hospitality industry.

Minister for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, revealed on Thursday evening that initial engagements between NBSSI and industry players have been fruitful.

Speaking on the business edition of Joy News’ PM Express, the Minister explained that the relief package will be advanced as a flexible loan to industry players who are members of identifiable trade associations.

“It is for companies which have employees from one to a maximum of 100. That is the target of this fund so it is going to be given out as loans depending on the applications submitted by the companies.  It will have a moratorium period of one year to be repaid over a two-year period,” she said.

The hospitality industry has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana the world over.

During the discussion on the disruption caused by the pandemic on the industry, three players in the sector shared details of the specific challenges they have had to deal with.

General Manager of the Movenpick Hotel, Adnan Yucel; Manager of Jamrock Restaurant and Bar, Elizabeth Olympio-Emanuel and CEO of Twist Group, Kwame Goka took turns to recount devastation triggered by the pandemic on their bottomline and how they have been dealing with the challenges.

The Tourism Minister said government was well aware of the challenges and assured them there is commitment by her outfit to ease the pressure caused by the pandemic.

Apart from the loan facility, the Minister said that a grant component from a World Bank project dubbed Tourism Development Project will further cushion players within the hospitality sector.

“We have had an engagement with the World Bank. There is a grant component within that which we are also looking at disbursing to support the operators within this sector

“Then the government has also requested that we submit to it an impact study on our sector. Government is going to look at this impact study, along with the recommendations which industry has made to us and regarding how they want the government to support them,” she said.

Barbara Oteng Gyasi said relief packages to big firms within the industry may come in the form a waiver in levies and charges or even taxes.

“So we have compiled this and we are going to submit it to government,” she assured.