Tanzania: Tourism Sector Heaves Sigh of Relief

THE government yesterday moved to reduce Tanzania Tourism Business Licence (TALA) for tour operators, a move it says will promote the country's key for exearning sector.

Presenting the 2021-2022 national budget in Dodoma yesterday, Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba announced his intention of reducing TALA for travel agents and tour operators, from 4.6m/-($2,000) to 1.1m/-($500).

The disputed fee has been a thorn in the flesh of many tour operators, with many forcing to ground their vehicles and close shop for failing to meet the legal provision.

The disputed fee was once described as an unfairly imposed tax on tour operators who had less than four vehicles. As it stands, those owning less than four cars are entitled to $500 while those running a fleet of more than four vehicles part ways with $2000. The move has seen the number of tour operators increase from 643 in 2015 to 50 1,687 as of last year.

On the other hand, the government intends to improve funding arrangement for Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) to increase efficiency in the discharge of their responsibilities.

According to Dr Nchemba, the government will release funds for the three conservation agencies for Other Charges (OC) in advance for two months at the beginning of the financial year and thereafter, continue to provide monthly advances.

"This will provide a buffer for these institutions to meet the needs of the subsequent month throughout the year," he told the lawmakers.

He further informed the House that the Covid -19 pandemic had adversely affected the contributions and dividends from some corporations and institutions, noting that the target for domestic revenue collection was not met in some sectors particularly in tourism, air travel and imports due to the effects of the killer virus.

"In particular, revenue from the three conservation agencies had declined following the slowdown of tourism activities as a result of Covid -19 effects to tourist source countries," he said.

During the financial year 2020/2021, TANAPA and NCAA were tasked to collect a staggering 584bn/- in revenues, but only managed 89.5bn, due to Covid -19.

Early last month, President Samia Suluhu Hassan held a virtual meeting with Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kristalina Georgieva to discuss economic and social cooperation including support in addressing the effects of Covid - 19. As a follow up to the meeting, the Finance docket initiated negotiations with the IMF to secure a concessional loan worth 1.3tri/- (571million) under Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).

The Government intends to direct the fund towards bolstering official foreign reserves, improve expenditure in health and water sectors as well as boosting tourism services in both Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.

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