The Ghana Hotels Association has called on government to temporarily suspend taxes on the hospitality industry to enable them to survive in the current lockdown state on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
They have therefore suggested three percent reduction in Valued Added Tax (VAT) 80 percent reduction in Corporate Tax, with other significant reductions in levies, pension and license fees, Business Operating Permit, Environmental Protection Permit, Food and Drugs Authority Permit, Property Rate among others.
Dr Edward Ackah-Nyamike Jnr, President of the Association who made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Sunday explained that the demands were necessitated by the nosedive the sector had taken due to the coronavirus pandemic and its ramifications in the country.
He said apart from the taxes, there was the need for government to also convert their commercial utility tariffs to domestic ones and support them to pay salaries of staff since the lockdown was akin to closing down the hotels and services.
He appealed to government and other stakeholders to disregard suggestions that some people were spewing out against their call for stimulus package and support them to survive in the global abnormal times on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Under these hard times, we want government and financial institutions to provide us with soft loans to manage our affairs until the situation normalizes.”
Dr Ackah-Nyamike Jnr told the GNA that Tourism and Hospitality Industry, made up of; hotels, restaurants, tour operators, car rentals and aviation services among others, was a significant contributor to the economy of Ghana in the form of employment, taxes, levies, licenses, foreign exchange earnings.
He said the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in a report in 2017, highlighted the impact of the sector on Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and on job creation.
“The report noted that “the total contribution of Tourism (and Hospitality) to GDP was GH¢12, 573.3 million ($1, 335.5mn), 6.2 percent of GDP in 2017. “
On job creation, he said the sector’s contribution to employment, including; jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 5.3 percent of total employment (882,000 jobs).
He said it was worthy of mention that the contributions of the industry to the nation continued even in the pandemic with hotels releasing their facilities as Quarantine Accommodation and the Chefs Association of Ghana cooking for the needy and vulnerable.
The President of the Association said a lot of hotels had shut down, while others were planning to do so, if the situation continued, a situation he added could affect the thousands of hotel workers whose livelihood depended on their employment in the industry and called for government’s intervention to give them a lifeline.