Tourism ministry pursues infrastructure deals

HARARE - The Tourism ministry says it is pursuing infrastructure projects as part of strategies to boost revenue.

This comes as the Walter Mzembi-led ministry, in a rather awkward move, last year established a special purpose vehicle, Mosi-oa-Tunya Development Company (MTDC).

Yesterday, Mzembi said MTDC was “forging ahead with plans for the company to spearhead infrastructure projects”.

“A board of directors is under consideration right now and should be appointed in the next fortnight to spearhead government-led infrastructure development in the tourism industry,” he said.

“We have seen that if you are left to your own dictates as industry, there will not be any additional product offering of note anywhere,” he said, adding that “...one of the issues that we have discovered is that there is a crisis of confidence especially relating to property rights within the sector”.

“We have decided to fix that. Government will underwrite that through Mosi- oa-Tunya so that investors have confidence,” said Mzembi.

He said the first land offering secured by MTDC was 274 hectares adjacent to the Victoria Falls International Airport.

“Government will be seeking partners to develop the land by building new infrastructure such as hotels, conference facilities and casinos among others”.

In March, he said the Tourism ministry was also pursuing investment opportunities in gold and diamond mining, through MTDC.

Upon establishing MTDC, Mzembi said the move targeted at broadening his ministry’s revenue base and raise money to fund tourism projects, at a time the country faces a tight national budget.

“The investment vehicle will be given the latitude to be as creative as it can in order to mobilise funds for tourism development,” he said at the time.

“This will include the warehousing of our 1 200 hectares of land that has been given to us by the ministry of Local Government around which we are going to theme a new tourism development in the order of an Eco-Disneyland so that we modernise the Victoria Falls outside its perimeters of the designated World Heritage sites,” Mzembi said

He argued that the venture was not duplicating the Mines ministry’s role saying “everything was above board”.

“Government is encouraging us to adopt new thinking because ministries cannot survive on fiscal support alone,” he said, adding “I am sure you realise that my sector was the least, in terms of budgetary support with about $6 million.”

“We want to get them (tourists) in, get their money and get them out, Mzembi said.

This comes as last year, the Tourism ministry struggled to access funds from Treasury to finance the hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly. Zimbabwe co-hosted the event with Zambia in Victoria Falls.

In June 2012, Tourism’s secretary Margaret Sangarwe signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the India government-owned NMDC Limited (NMDC).

Comments (1)

Smart minister, keep it up. we need more ministers like Mzembi. God bless you

TinaMSU - 23 October 2014

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