About GH¢41 million, representing 54 per cent of the 2018 budget of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC), will be used to fund culture, creative arts and heritage development programmes this year.
Part of the rest GH¢34.4 million will be disbursed to undertake management and administration activities of the ministry, leaving GH¢15.9 million to support tourism initiatives such as tourism product development, tourism research and marketing, and tourism facilities monitoring.
The budget allocation for this year increased from GH¢44 million last year to GH¢75.1 million this year.
Although GH¢44 million was allocated to the ministry last year only GH¢28.9 million was actually released as of September 2017, leaving a variance of GH¢15.1 million representing 34 per cent of the total budgetary allocations.
This was disclosed when the Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Mrs Catherine Abelema Afeku, and her Deputy, Dr Ziblim Iddi, appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism and Youth, Sports and Culture to defend the ministry’s budget estimate for 2018.
According to the ministry, it will provide general administrative support services to the National Commission on Culture (NCC) and the Centres of National Culture (CNC).
It would complete master drawings for a new office and renovate the head office building for the National Commission on Culture (NCC).
The ministry mentioned that it was taking steps to initiate the National Drama Festival (NADRAFEST 2018) for second cycle schools in the country.
It also intends to use its budget to organise 10 regional festivals of arts and culture and the National Festival (NAFAC 2018) in the Eastern Region.
Again, the ministry said it would develop and review the culture and creative arts strategic plan 2018-2023. It will visit all the regions to monitor and evaluate activities, projects and programmes at the Regional Centre for National Culture (CNCs).
It also has plans to complete regional theatre buildings in Koforidua, Sekondi, Sunyani, Ho and Bolga to relocate the CNC and the Arts Centre in Accra to Kawukudi at Kanda.
The ministry said it would organise seminars on the use of folkloric materials to improve patronage of such materials. It would also rehabilitate and furnish the national folklore board office.
It has plans to procure a multi-purpose printing machine to enable the Bureau of Ghanaian Languages (BGL) to be competitive with other printing houses to maximise revenue from the internally generated fund (IGF).
Tourism product development
The ministry pointed out that it would organise 40 seminars and durbars this year for traditional rulers and opinion leaders on conservation of community-based ecotourism to create an opportunity for mutual benefit between host communities and tourists.
It expressed its resolve to continue to implement the marine drive tourism investment project by attracting local and foreign direct investments into the construction of hotels, amphi-theatres, craft villages, shopping malls and conference halls.
Besides that, the ministry would implement the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with traditional authorities to ensure that the local people drive benefits from the project in terms of employment, royalties and corporate social responsibilities.
In partnership with Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme, the MoTAC would embark on a major sanitation drive in a number of selected public beaches and construct toilet facilities in the country.
The communities to benefit from the project include Elmina, Sakumono, Kokrobite, La-Nungua, Busua and Keta.
It also mentioned plans to conduct feasibility studies in the three northern zones to reveal investment potentials within the zones in a bid to encourage tourism, arts and culture investments in the regions.
According to MoTAC, over 33 facilities at tourist attraction sites across the country would be rehabilitated.
Tourism research and marketing
In 2018, a festival is to be organised to showcase Ghanaian foods and recipes through cooking competitions throughout the country as part of efforts to promote Ghanaian cuisine.
It will continue to pursue the “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana,” campaign in 2018 to promote Ghana in diverse ways.
Quality assurance programmes
The MoTAC planned to initiate a public-private partnership programme to facilitate the construction of the Ghana Hospitality Institute.
It will also partner the private sector to construct a Hotel Management Training School and develop standards for new tourism enterprises. — GB