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Tourism Ministry to expand digitised revenue collection systems

By: Suad Yakubu
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Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku — Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture
Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku — Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC) has announced plans to expand its revenue collection systems through the use of a digitised platform.
The move is expected to help seal all leakages in revenue mobilisation and raise more revenue at the various tourist sites dotted across the country to complement the over GH¢76 million budgetary allocation for 2019.
This was contained in a report of the joint committee on youth, sports and culture and trade, industry and tourism in Parliament.

The committee noted that operations at the Elmina and Cape Coast castles, as well as the National Theatre, had been digitised. Also, plans to digitise operations at the Wli Waterfalls in the Volta Region of Ghana areunderway, albeit some chieftaincy disputes which threatened  to stagnate the development of the tourist facilities.
The committee, therefore, called on the appropriate authorities to intervene swiftly to help boost tourism at that site.
“The committee hereby appeals to the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs and the stakeholders to treat it as an urgent matter and facilitate and ensure a speedy adjudication of the case so as to bring normalcy to this very important tourist site,” it said.

Donor support for MoTAC
The committee stated that the MoTAC would receive financial support from other countries and organisations to help promote tourism in Ghana.
The committee also said it would assume monitoring and supervisory roles to ensure that funds obtained from donors were used accordingly.
In view of this, the committee commended the sector minister, Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, for her relentless strides in shaping our tourism, arts and culture industry.

Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA)   
The committee stated that the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), through the ministry, had initiated legislative processes to strengthen tax systems, which had not inured to the benefits of tourism industry operators.
This comes on the back of some 21 taxes that the operators were compelled to comply with.
The 21 taxes include Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fees, Food and Drugs Authority fees, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) operating permit fees, Fire Service fees, property rate, police report fees, as well as Town and Country Planning fees, the committee stated.

Tourism minister honoured
For her immense contribution to Ghana’s tourism industry, Mrs Afeku was appointed as Chairperson at the first meeting of a Leadership Taskforce at the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) headquarters in Madrid, Spain on January 25.
The new feat was in recognition of her active involvement in tourism in Ghana and the world at large, ahead of the Women in Tourism Empowerment Programme (WITEP) to be hosted by Ghana in November this year.
The General Secretary of the UNWTO, Mr Zurab Pololikashvili, made this known in a letter to congratulate Mrs Afeku on her new role.