The Upper East Regional branch of the Ghana Hotels Association has appealed to the government to post graduates from Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management from the various tertiary institutions across the country to undertake their national service.
This, the Association said would enable the service personnel to gain practical experience of what they were taught in school, and also increase the staff strengths of hotels in the country.
“Bolgatanga Technical University is training students in hotel-related courses but at the end of the course, some go to the classrooms at the basic level to teach, but the hotels are the places they can learn.”
The Association made the appeal through its Regional Secretary, Mr Louis Tindan at a stakeholder engagement with the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal when he paid a day’s working visit to tourist sites in the Region.
Mr Tindan said, “If they are attached to us, we know the policy, but we don’t have the funds to pay them. So we would wish that government supports us by continuously paying them while we train them with our facilities wholeheartedly.”
He reiterated that such a move would enable the personnel to “Get a feel of what they studied in school, and not become what they didn’t study to be.”
He said the hotel and catering industries were the worse hit during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic as all programmes were cancelled while they had to pay their staff, utility and other bills since they did not enjoy the government’s subsidy on water and electricity.
“We paid our water and electricity bills in full, no 50 per cent for us, and in addition to that, we were slapped with a one per cent COVID recovery levy. We are the worse hit, and we have to pay this amount again.
“We are not against the payment of COVID levy, but for now, if the government could exempt us for our businesses to survive before we start paying,” the Secretary said.
Mr Tindan added that the multiplicity of taxes from government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drugs Authority, the Ghana National Fire Service, the Municipal and District Assemblies, among others were a burden to them.
“If these taxes could be made in a single window so that at the beginning of the year, we know how much we are to pay as taxes to all these organisations that would be better. It will help us plan.”
The Sector Minister, in his response, said the office would take up the request for Service Personnel for Hotels.
He also conceded that there were many taxes on the hotel industry.
“We set out a mechanism to harmonise all the taxes. Give us few months, we will harmonise and make sure that we don’t over-burden you unnecessarily.”
He said there would be an advertisement in the media for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) grants, and advised them to apply.
“Anything that you do that is related to tourism, we will give you the grants.”