Accra, Dec. 7, GNA - Parliament on Wednesday approved the sum of 39.5 billion cedis for the services of the Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City for the 2006 fiscal year. Almost all the Members of Parliament (MPs) who contributed to the debate for the approval of the budget were of the view that the allocation was inadequate and that a lot would have to be done if the Ministry is to operate effectively.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Deputy Attorney General said to be able to promote tourism effectively, the Ministry must be adequately funded to enable it locate new tourism sites, as well as do more on heritage or historical tourism. He said the tourism industry had been so dependent on a few attractions, a situation that has greatly hampered the progress of internal tourism to the detriment of Ghanaians. "We seem to depend on gold, cocoa and kente, instead of creating new historical sites such as the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum," Mr Ghartey said.
"Places such as the old Parliament House and Essikado-Ketan, which is in my constituency where the 'Positive Action' was declared by Nkrumah and his colleagues could be turned into historical sites," he added. Mr Ghartey said Ghana should take advantage of the celebration of her 50th Independent anniversary in 2007 by planning and promoting the occasion to the whole world to visit the first black African country to attain her freedom. Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, suggested that the Ghana Tourist Board should become an Authority to enable it become self-financing. He said this would enable them to initiate their own programmes and projects instead of only enforcing standards and laws.
Mr George Kuntu-Blankson, NDC-Mfantseman East suggested that each of the 130 constituencies should have at least one major tourist site both for local and international visitors. He said a programme such as PANAFEST should be made more attractive because it is attractive and all efforts should be made to involve more Ghanaians in its celebration instead of relying only on Africans in the Diaspora. Earlier, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, urged the House to approve the budget to create the enabling environment for tourism to contribute to the nation's socio-economic goals.