Ghana’s tourism sector has for the first time in 10 years, recorded its worst performance in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the first quarter of this year, statistics from the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) have shown.
Although FDI constitute about 49 per cent of investments into the sector, its share in the sector has been declining. The development, according to Groupe Nduom Research (GN- Research), could threaten Ghana’s National Tourism Development Plan (2013-2027) that requires 1.3 billon dollars annually.
“The sector recorded no new project for the first quarter of the year , although GIPC recorded 95 new FDI projects in the period,” analysis from GN Research, authored by Samuel Kofi Ampah stated. It mentioned the areas that enjoyed new projects as the services, manufacturing, general trading and liaison, building/construction, export trade and agriculture sectors.
The poor performance has been attributed to lack of incentives for enterprises in that sector, mainly due to the repeal of the Promotion of Tourism Instrument (LI 1817) that gave the GIPC the power to grant tax incentives to businesses in the sector. That LI per records, stimulated private sector investment in the sector through construction, refurbishment and upgrading of tourism infrastructures.
Institutional and regulatory lapses in the country arising out of bureaucracy has also been blamed for the no new investment in the tourism sector for the first quarter of 2017.
“The 2017 World Bank Doing Business report shows that, Ghana’s performance on almost all the institutional and regulatory components is declining. For instance, factors such as ease of starting business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, protecting minority investors and enforcing contracts have fallen,” the analysis by GN Research stated.
The sector’s share of FDI in value terms fell from 1.59 per cent in 2013 to 0.06 per cent in 2014, while its total contribution fell from 7.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent. In 2015, the sector’s share however increased to 25.8 per cent, generating 2.7 billion dollars in revenue and contributed significantly to the economic growth rate of 4.2 per cent recorded.
“This was short lived, as the sector’s share fell sharply to 0.03 per cent in 2016 with direct and total contribution to GDP decreasing from 3.3per cent and 7.8 per cent to 3 per cent and 7.1per cent respectively” the GN Research analysis indicated. It has in view of the situation, asked the government to give financial incentives in the areas of tax, depreciation subsidies, subsidized tariffs and concessions under specific projects or geographic locations to ensure a satisfactory return on investments.
It is also proposing long term opportunities that should includes multi-hotel resorts; one each at the Volta Estuary; Brenu beach in the Central Region; Cape Three Points area in the Western Region; Lake Bosumtwi in Ashanti, the Volta Lake Basin, Dodi Island, Dwarf Island, Digya National Park, Melinli Peninsular, Amedzofe and Wli-falls in the Volta and the Accra marine drive project.
“Aside the financial incentives, government should enhance the security of investments in the sector by ensuring stable economic and political environment since the sector is very sensitive to them,” it advised.