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Ministry fights for funding

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Williams Banda

Officials in the Ministry of Tourism have decried lack of adequate resources to promote the country as a tourist destination that would spur the growth of the industry.

They have singled out suspension of the one percent tourism levy that the Ministry used to collect from players in the industry saying the move has crippled its marketing efforts.

This comes against a background that the Ministry of Finance effected the suspension in April last year to cushion the tourism industry from the Covid pandemic.

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Ministry of Tourism and Culture Spokesperson Sara Njanji indicated, in an interview, that before the suspension the Ministry collected K691 million which has gone down to zero in the past year.

“At the moment we are continuing to engage the Treasury to see if they could lift the suspension because the money that is collected on this levy is what is used for the promotion of the tourism sector both locally and internationally,” Njanji said.

She added that the ministry gets funding through Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) for promotional activities.

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For example in the 2020/2021 National Budget, the tourism sector was allocated K43 million.

Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Williams Banda said the suspension cannot be lifted now, but the Ministry will still get its ORT in the 2021/22 budget.

“The tourism sector is yet to fully recover from the pandemic, therefore, we cannot lift the suspension,” Banda said.

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