Monday, 15 April

2024 SoNA: President Akufo-Addo on progress chalked, anticipated for tourism, creative arts

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

In his eighth and final year, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has delivered his last State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

He spoke in parliament on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

Prior, on Valentine's Day, Akufo-Addo indicated Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal would be replaced by Sekondi Member of Parliament Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer as lead for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture. 

Below is President Akufo-Addo's account on the progress chalked and anticipated in the tourism and creative arts industries, thus far, under his leadership:

Mr Speaker, I believe we can say with certainty that, in the tourism sector, Ghana is finally realising her long-promised potential.

Starting from the events and excitement of the Year of Return in 2019, Ghana has truly become an attractive tourist destination, with visitor numbers increasing every year.

“December in GH” is now an established and increasingly attractive phenomenon, which brings visitors to our country in the month of December, and has changed the events calendar around the Christmas holiday season in Accra and many other towns.

Mr Speaker, for the first time since the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park was constructed in 1992, Government has undertaken a full modernisation rehabilitation of the facility. Since the commissioning of the modernised park in July 2023, the number of domestic and international visitors has risen dramatically.

A national newspaper, reporting on activities at the revamped Park, had a screaming headline which said AKUFO-ADDO RESURRECTS NKRUMAH. That gave me pause for a moment, but, on reflection, I decided I would accept it, be it a compliment, or criticism or an addition to the collection of sayings by our elders. Whichever it is, since the commissioning, there have been two hundred and eight thousand, five hundred and fifty-seven (208,557) domestic and international visitors to the Park between 14th July and 31st December 2023.

Mr Speaker, compare that, if you may, with the best performance until then, which was in the Year of Return in 2019, when there were one hundred and twenty-six thousand, one hundred and ninety (126,190) visitors in the year.

Other facilities are being upgraded, and it is good to note that the private sector is showing interest, and getting into the development of tourist attraction sites.

Mr Speaker, the National Museum Gallery, which had been closed down since 2015, has also been fully refurbished. It attracted over thirty-five thousand (35,000) visitors in 2023, and I am particularly pleased that school children form a good part of the visitors to these sites.

The first-ever Kente Museum, aimed at preserving the cultural heritage in Ghana, has been built at Bonwire in the Ashanti Region, and was recently commissioned by the Second Lady.

Preparatory works and designs for the construction of the Heroes Park, a museum to commemorate the founding fathers of Ghana, the Big Six, JB Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, Edward Akufo-Addo, Ebenezer Ako Adjei, William Ofori-Atta, Kwame Nkrumah, were completed in December 2023, and construction will commence very soon.

Mr Speaker, Government, through the National Film Authority, is committed to supporting the production of world class content and films, as well as increasing the cinema infrastructure in Ghana and, by extension, on the continent. To this end, a favourable fiscal (tax) regime for cinema projects, including income tax and VAT incentives, import duty exemptions on film production equipment, twenty percent (20%) tax rebate for strategic film productions and film financing reliefs, is being elaborated by Cabinet, which should be out-doored very soon, and should provide another tangible reason for the choice of Ghana as a film production country.

Source: Benjamin