ZTA loses lucrative fund as Rwodzi cracks whip

This was disclosed by Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Barbara Rwodzi in her address to the Zimbabwe Investment Summit in South Africa, recently.

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is set to lose a lucrative fund established to develop the sector after the government decided to make it a stand-alone entity.

This was disclosed by Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Barbara Rwodzi in her address to the Zimbabwe Investment Summit in South Africa, recently.

The Tourism minister said someone ‘naughty’ had placed the Zimbabwe Tourism Fund (ZTF) under ZTA’s stewardship.

She wants ZTF to operate independent of the ZTA to bolster its mandate of helping tourism companies to develop.

Tourism sector players are levied 2% of their revenue by government, which is deposited into a pool that funds ZTA operations.

Rwodzi indicated that it appeared the ZTF has not been fully sweated under its current state to fund private sector requirements.

“I am sure some who have been home a long time ago, they know the Sheraton as it was called back then, now Rainbow Towers was built by Zimbabwe Tourism Development Corporation,” she said.

“It was the tourism fund, together with the Chinese, who came to help us as a partnership. A few more lodges, I am sure in Masvingo (were funded) but from then, nothing has been done in terms of infrastructure that is being built by the government.

“It is called the Zimbabwe Tourism Fund. We have separated it. We are in the process of separating it from ZTA. Somewhere along the line, I don't know who was naughty and put it under ZTA.

“Every tourist or tourism operator in Zimbabwe has to pay 2% of their revenue to the government. It is well known. It is even here in South Africa, it is everywhere - Kenya, Botswana, etc,” Rwodzi said.

She, however, did not disclose the current value of funds under ZTF’s management.

But based on about US$1 billion, which flowed into the sector last year, it could be generating millions of United States dollars annually.

Rwodzi was in a meeting when contacted for comment by the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday.

The ZTF is a revolving facility funded by the sector through levies.

A few years ago, the Auditor-General slammed the ZTA for funding Zanu PF campaign rallies using public funds.

It advised the ZTA to stop abusing public funds. In the most recent incidence, several top ZTA officials were suspended by the Ministry of Tourism to pave way for investigations amid reports of alleged transgressions.

Former tourism minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu last year set up an inquiry to probe the reports, but results of the investigation have not been made public.

This investigation resulted in the suspension of chief operating officer Givemore Chidzidzi and other ZTA executives.

The ZTA board was said to be divided at the time of the suspensions, with some demanding justification of undisclosed payments made to some of the executives.

The five-member special investigative committee was led by Simon Masanga, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, and was announced through a Government Gazette published on January 27, 2023.

Meanwhile, in her address, Rwodzi said digital infrastructure was helping the government to collect levies.

“We have many other things that you can do with the digital infrastructure,” she said.

“The more the government collects levies, the bigger it can develop its tourism infrastructure. But in Zimbabwe, people pay as they want and there is no ICT infrastructure that tells us how many people have been here on this facility today (or) how much are they supposed to pay? Some of the investment opportunities (include), financing tourism infrastructure,” Rwodzi added.

Related Topics