ACTING Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Budgeting and Planning Brian Kambita says his committee is concerned with complaints that Zambia has the highest tax regime for airport fees in Africa.
Acting Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Budgeting and Planning Brian Kambita says these concerns by tour operators among others need to be addressed to attract more tourists.
Kambita notes that there is need for a multi-sectoral approach between the Zambia Airports Corporation, the Ministry of Finance, and the tour operates to harmonies the non-tax revenue in the tourism industry to boost the Sector.
Parliamentary Committee on Budgeting and Planning which is touring three provinces Southern Province, Lusaka, and Copperbelt to get the first-hand information on non-tax revenue in the tourism sector said Zambia is among the most expensive destinations in Africa.
Acting Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Budgeting and Planning Brian Kambita said this when the committee visited the Zambia Airport corporation at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport that the visit to the institutions to ascertain how the country can benefit from the non-tax revenue.
And Kafue Member of Parliament (MP) Mirriam Chonya said the concerns of Zambia being the most expensive destination is a thorny issue and has the potential to affect the tourism industry.
Chama South lawmaker Davison Munga’ndu pointed out that although the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula airport is better than the airport on the Zimbabwean side, the latter records more arrivals of tourists than Zambia because of high airport fees.
Munga’ndu lamented that in the past five years he has been in parliament under tourism committee, concerns of high fees have yet to be addressed.
He questioned the benefit of having better infrastructure, charge high fees, and yet there are few arrivals on the Zambian airports.
Malole Member of Parliament Robert Kalimi said Zambia Airport Corporation’s failure to use the first secretaries in embassies to help them to conduct a study on the high fees being charged by other countries for them to be competitive is not helping matters.
However, Zambia Airports Director corporate Strategy and Planning Cosam Ngoma said diplomatic engagement is one of the issues in their strategic plan to address the issues of high fees so that the corporation can operate effectively.
Zambia Airports Corporation acting CEO Maggie Kaunda, on her part , said the Ministry of Transport is working on reducing the landing and parking charges for the corporation to be competitive on the international market.
She also highlighted the problems being faced by the corporation as limited air traffic, volatility of the aviation industry, fluctuations of the exchange rate, old ground equipment.
Kaunda said the strategic plan for the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is to apportion part for their vast land for the Economic Zone to encourage investment.
“The other plan is to expand the list of countries that can obtain visa on arrival and to promote of domestic tourism to grow the industry, “ she said.
The Acting Chief Executive officer noted that the aim of the corporation is to increase its income base to reduce on high fees being charged for parking and landing so that it will benefit travelers in the long run.
National Airport Corporation planning and Business Development manager Josiah Mvula disclosed that the ministry of Transport and logistics has come up with measures to reduce the landing and parking by 25 percent and ten percent, respectively.
Mvula said the plan is to reduce from parking fees from 5 dollars per to 10 dollars per day.
Earlier the Parliamentary committee on budgeting and Planning paid a courtesy call on Lusaka province Permanent Secretary Robert Kamalata and highlighted that non-tax revenue in the country is too low.
Kamalata said the province is at times overshadowed in handling activities because it hosts all the government Ministries which at times takes even the activities that the province is supposed to do.