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Chamber for Tourism Industry calls on the government to cut taxes to mitigate impact of COVID-19

The operators in Ghana’s tourism and hospitality industry argue that this will help solidify their gains made from the Year of Return in 2019 and also strengthen the industry.

A statement issued by the Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber for Tourism Industry Ghana, Odelia Ntiamoah, said the government must consider tax cuts or delays for businesses as a form of stimulus package.

“Following the Year of Return in 2019 and Beyond the Return, which was expected to solidify the gains in 2020, the advent of COVID 19 has virtually eroded some of the gains made. To avoid a total wreckage of the sector, we must have a consultative meeting between all interested parties including the Ministry of Finance. This will include but not limited to tax cuts or tax delays; how much and for what period of time.”

This is coming after some hotels in the country, especially Accra have laid off some casual workers due to low patronage because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The aviation and hospitality sectors worldwide have been one of the hardest hit due to the spread of the COVID-19.

The aviation sector is the most affected. Due to its connection with the tourism and hospitality sector, it causes them also to be affected since thousands of flights have halted around the world due to restrictions on air travel.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) listed the tourism sector to be the fourth-highest foreign currency earner behind gold, cocoa and remittances.

In 2018, contribution of travel and tourism to Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) for Ghana was 3.5 billion US dollars.

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The Chamber argued that since it employs between 1 in 10 to 1 in 14 people with majority being women, the government through the “Exim bank to set aside some supporting fund, with less than 3 percent interest to support the sector revive once more.”

“Based on the above; we propose that a special concession be made for women in the sector so that they are not disadvantaged,” it added.

The statement also indicated that “we need a proper research done on job losses and a possible government programme that will support them in the interim as well as a dialogue on using some hotels as centers at a subsidized fee to keep them running.”

As of Wednesday (March 25, 2020), Ghana had recorded a total of 68 cases with three deaths.

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