As the government is working strenuously to revive the economy in the midst of international variables that are beyond its control, some agencies under it are bent on collapsing businesses.
The Ghana Tourism Authourity (GTA), in a move expected to get hotels, eateries, pubs etc to comply with its regulations, 2016 (L.I. 2238), its officers are out enforcing it in a way that has the tendency to collapse businesses.
Staff of the authourity, have developed a mischievous way of being rude to the same businesses they are supposed to be working with. They do this without any qualms of conscience and consequences that their action could lead to.
Officers of the authority who are out to enforce the regulations and get businesses to comply, are going round town in the company with journalists and camera men closing down businesses without any notices. A notice of closure is only seen posted on the business after the closure.
First of all these businesses have not been given any grace period, followed by notice of default, except to say a communique was published, in which dailies they could not provide.
A business which was closed down, issued a cheque to settle debt and to their surprise, they were informed, a cheque cannot be accepted only cash.
Closing down businesses should be the last resort in any situation.
Unemployment is already high in the country and every attempt should be made to reduce it, not to force people onto the street.
The Ghana Tourism Authority should be interested in promoting businesses, it should not be in the business of shutting them down, if they can’t help them.
No other sector of the economy has been hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic than the hospitality industry. It begets that the only remedy available to the GTA, is to shut down food, beverage and entertainment enterprises.
It is immensely sad in our view that, while other countries are extending palliatives to businesses, in Ghana, the only solution available to institutions, such as the Ghana Tourism Authourity, is to close them down, which amounts to nothing but a shakedown.
What is happening is looking more like a vicious arm-twisting strategy with the intention to blackmail businesses into submission.
Much as this newspaper disagrees with businesses’ delay in payment for the license to operate, we do not think that crippling them is the first option, as it is insensitive to their plight.