The Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) has pleaded with the government to include its members in the three-month free water concession granted by President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The Federation’s Executive Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Frimpong, told Class News that even though they are happy that the President’s directive to further relax the COVID-19 restrictions will allow them resume operations on 1 August 2020, they have not benefitted from any of the government’s COVID-19 freebies despite providing employment to a vast number of Ghanaians.
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced the extension of the utilities freebies last Thursday, 23 July 2020 in Parliament when he presented the mid-year budget review.
In April 2020, President Akufo-Addo initially introduced a three-month free water initiative to the Ghanaian public.
Mr Frimpong explained that even though the free water initiative is meant for all, “domestic and even commercial operators” under the Federation have been sidelined.
“For us, it is good news because we have been asking the President to look at the fact that there should be some way of opening up gradually. The only bit we're not too happy about is the water bit”, he complained.
“This is not the first time that the President has informed us that we're supposed to get some tariffs free. As a matter of fact, the last mention was about three months ago but our members did not enjoy that, so, we are still pushing and asking: why is it that anytime that domestic and even commercial operators are supposed to enjoy a certain percentage of water, we don't?’” Mr Frimpong intimated.
President Akufo-Addo announced the easing of restrictions on domestic airlines and commercial transport and tourist sites during his 14th COVID-19 update on Sunday, 26 July 2020.
Mr Frimpong, said the government must extend some freebies to the Federation, too.
“We find ourselves in a situation that the government has to come in. And don't forget we're giving employment to thousands of people, so, anything that the government must do to support us so that we can be on our feet and give employment to people, that's all we're asking for. It is not about whether we deserve it or not, whether it is a private company or public, it is the fact that we give employment and the government at this time is supposed to support us to stand on our feet,” he added.