The Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has expressed its concerns about the recent increases in utility tariffs, taxes, and levies, stating that these measures are severely impacting the hospitality industry.
The hospitality sector had already suffered significant losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and instead of facilitating a quicker recovery, the government has imposed heavy taxes, particularly property rates, which have further compounded the industry’s challenges, according to the Association.
Isaac Nkoom, the immediate past Central Regional Chairman of the GHA, emphasized that the property rate system currently being enforced by the Ghana Revenue Authority is detrimental to the sector’s ability to rebound.
Speaking at the Fourth National Executive Council Meeting of the GHA at the Elmina Beach Hotel on Friday, on the theme: “Sustaining the Hotel Industry in Ghana – Post-COVID-19 Pandemic”, he raised questions about the substantial rate hikes without prior consultation with industry stakeholders.
Nkoom stated, “How could a facility that pays a property rate of GH¢700 suddenly rise to GH¢20,000 or from GH¢1,800 to GH¢50,000? We are not against the increase and the collection by GRA, but we are against the astronomical increases killing our businesses. We do not know how they arrived at those sharp increases and, as far as we remain stakeholders, we expected some consultations on operational modalities before implementation.”
He further stressed the impact of the 20 multiple and duplicate taxes and levies that are suffocating the growth of the sector, including the NHIL, VAT, GETfund, COVID-19 levy, GTA levy, EPA Levy, FDA levy, MMDAs levy, Fire Service levy, and one percent tourism levy, among others.
Nkoom expressed concern about the financial burden these taxes placed on industry operators, who are already dealing with the costs of maintenance, utilities, and staff salaries. He called on the government to consider reducing VAT charges, as the hotel business is facing reduced patronage due to economic hardships.
In addition, he urged the government to reduce regulatory fees for hotels to prevent job losses and support business sustainability. He also encouraged hotel owners who have not yet registered with the Association to do so, emphasizing the importance of collective action in regulating their activities and improving operations.
Kwame Gyasi, the Central Regional Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, advised hotel operators to invest more in customer service to enhance the country’s tourism industry. He stressed the importance of improving service delivery through training, recruitment, and collaboration with other agencies and institutions in the tourism value chain.
He concluded, “We share your pain, we understand your challenges, and we are with you in these difficult moments as we work for the best solutions.”