THE MINISTER for Tourism and Diasporan Relations and Member of Parliament (MP) for Mfantesman West, Stephen Asamoah-Boateng on Wednesday contradicted himself when he answered questions regarding the inability of his ministry to re-constitute the governing board of the Ghana Tourist Board, six years after the dissolution of the previous one.
The Minister, who was in the House to answer questions pertaining to his outfit, initially told his colleague MPs that the absence of the board affected the tourism industry and that efforts were being made to institute a new one.
After resuming his seat, the Minister, later in response to a question by Hon. E.T. Mensah of Ningo-Prampram, told the House that he had just been reminded “by my colleagues that the board's absence does not affect our operations”.
It was at that juncture that some members, especially from the minority side, shouted in Akan, “w'aye hot, w'aye hot,” to wit, “you are hot, you are hot.”
Fortunately for the Minister, it was at that moment that the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, thanked him for appearing before the House and asked him to go.
Earlier, Hon. Asamoah-Boateng, popularly called Asabee, told the House that the ministry had prepared a comprehensive tourism policy to cover all aspects of tourism, which is now before Cabinet.
He explained that the problem of the composition of the board stemmed from a military decree, NRCD 1973 and SMCD 80 1977, which skewed membership of the board towards government institutions.
That was the time government was managing tourism facilities such as hotels and restaurants, among others.
He stated that even though government had been trying to change the trend since the 1990s, “not much was done to change the decree and this has created a vacuum.
“The best thing to do was to review the law to include the private sector on the board, which will be in line with current tourism development practice all over the world.”
Asabee, in response to a question by the MP for Tamale Central, Inusah A.B Fuseini, announced that: “I am happy to inform the House that the process has begun for the appointment of the Acting Executive Director and his two Deputy Executive Directors, as the substantive Executive Director and Deputy Executive Directors of the Ghana Tourist Board”.
He debunked claims in some quarters that the Joseph Project was a duplication of the Emancipation and PANAFEST programmes, and therefore a complete waste of scarce national resources.
“The Joseph Project, if anything, will rather strengthen PANAFEST and Emancipation and make them richer in content and enhance the personal experiences of the Diasporans.
“In any case, Mr. Speaker, in tourism, the more successful events that a country puts together go a long way to boost the industry.”
The MP for Jomoro, Lee Ocran, drew Asamoah-Boateng's attention to a Biblical blunder he made by saying that Joseph, the patriarch, who was sold to Amalekite traders to Egypt, later returned home and became a breadwinner.
Asabee, on the other hand, said whether or not Joseph returned home, the fact remained that he eventually became his family's breadwinner.
By Sylvanus Nana Kumi