The Minority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Hon. Haruna Iddrissu has decried the high rates charged by hotels in Ghana, describing it as too exorbitant, urging the Minister of Tourism to undertake measures which will look into these areas in the next phases of their development plans.
Speaking on the Floor of Parliament, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu wondered why rates charged by hotels in Ghana are so high, compared to that of advanced economies such as the United States and the rest.
According to him, hotels play very vital role in the tourism industry, and the drive as a nation to make tourism one of the major foreign exchange earners for the economy, and these exorbitant rates charged by them hinders the realization of this dream, wondering if this is as a result of utility costs to them.
Many stakeholders have similarly complained about this phenomenon, calling on policy makers to take a serious look at that, since it is a disincentive to tourism.
It is a fact that most hotels (especially the star rated ones) charge in dollars to the extent of several hundreds and in some cases thousands of Ghana Cedis, and this is seen as a setback to the tourism industry.
Speaking on the Floor on the occasion of the marking of Chocolate day in Parliament, the Minority Leader appreciated the effort of the late Hon. Jake Ogbetsebe Lamptey, who initiated the transition of the celebration of the Valentine’s Day to the celebration of Chocolate Day, though according to him, the youth still regrettably associates the day with romance and promiscuity.
He indicated that, the day should teach Ghanaians that as they grow, they will learn to show and appreciate love to our families, wives, children, and all manner of people.
He also appealed to the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to make it a point to take it up as a responsibility to ensure that students, and for that matter the youth appreciates that, there is a shift from promiscuous romance on this day to a day of true love and patriotism for the nation through the consumption of chocolate.
He also emphasized that, it is commendable for the government to build a museum in honor of Tetteh Quarshie (who brought cocoa to Ghana), but advised that it would rather be more beneficial, if a regional or teaching hospital had been built in his honor rather, to better serve the people.
He further advised that, value addition to Ghana’s raw cocoa is the way to go as a country.
“We have played lip service to adding value to our raw products for long, and the time to act is now, since it will be a panacea to curing the epilepsy of our currency, referring to solving the fluctuation of Ghana’s currency to major International currencies”. He noted.
On her part, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Member of Parliament for Evalue-Ajamoro Gwira Constituency, Hon. Catherine Afeku congratulated the people of Ghana on the occasion of Chocolate Day, which used to be Valentine’s Day, informing the House of the cutting of the sod for the construction of Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum in Akuapem Mampong, with the expectation that in a year’s time, the museum would be inaugurated.
Under the theme “Eat Ghana, Eat Chocolate, the Minister indicated that, the Museum is in honor of the man who discovered cocoa in Ghana, and also dedicated to the millions of Ghanaian cocoa farmers whose toils and hard work have over the years fetched the nation hard earned foreign exchange to sustain its national agenda.
She added that, the project when completed would be an important addition to the nation’s tourism stock, boosting the relaxation and comfort of tourists as well.
The Tourism Minister also disclosed that, the Ghana Tourism Authority, one of the agencies under the Ministry have also spearheaded the “eat Ghana, wear Ghana and do everything Ghana”, aimed at boosting local consumption of made in Ghana products.
As part of the day’s celebration, Hon. Catherine further disclosed that series of activities including the exhibition of cocoa products, quiz competition by schools, cocoa based food recipe competition and chocolate cocktails are underway at the newly constructed events grounds at the Accra Information Tourists Center.
“All arriving passengers at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) would also be served to chocolate delight, adding that all these have been made possible due to a collaboration with the Ghana Cocobod, GIHOC Distilleries, Cocoa Processing Company and other partners of the Ministry”. She noted.
The House was adjourned to Thursday February, 15, at 10 O’clock in the forenoon with debate of the President’s State of the Nation Address to continue.