The Ministry of Tourism is grossly underfunded yet it is one of the key economic drivers in the country contributing 3.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2017.
This was said by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water then Tourism and Hospitality Industry after looking at the 2018 budget allocations for the two ministries.
Committee chair Yeukai Simbanegavi said the sector has the potential to contribute up to 10percent of GDP if meaningful financial support is availed.
“Gross under-funding of co-activities such as destination marketing and key tourism programmes may adversely affect tourism receipts and the achievements of key objectives,” she said.
Below are the recommendations made by the committee:
HON. SIMBANEGAVI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am going to present the report on the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water then Tourism and Hospitality Industry. My report is going to be in two parts – first on the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and then on the Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
For 2018, the Ministry was allocated $85 818 000. In comparison to 2017 revised budget actual disbursements, the allocation increased by 10.6%. If the total amount is disbursed, the implication is that the fiscal achievements will slightly improve in 2018 compared to 2017 but if a proportion is disbursed as the norm from previous years, fiscal problems faced in 2017 will persist in 2018.
I will move on to the observations that the Committee has made in order for the recommendations that I will read later to make sense. The Committee observed the following in the 2018 budget. The Ministry is accruing recurrent expenditure debts amounting to $2.1 million. This is for service providers. The operational budget will only settle 19.1% of this amount leaving no funds for operations in 2018. The Ministry has also an aging fleet of 45 vehicles which require a maintenance of $100 000 and only $56 000 was allocated. The Ministry was last allocated an amount for procuring vehicles in 2010. This cripples the Ministry in executing its mandate and hinders its supervisory capacity. The budget prioritised capital expenditure as expected.
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