Friday, 25 November 2016

ZIMBABWE: Tourism Hurt By Too Many Police Roadblocks

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa

PLAYERS in the tourism industry have approached Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in reducing the “too many” police roadblocks on the country’s major highways, saying they stifle free movement of local and foreign tourists.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) congress, which ends in Kariba today, HAZ president, George Manyumwa said his organisation was engaging relevant stakeholders to have the number of roadblocks reduced.

“There are too many roadblocks on our country’s roads and this is particularly not good for the hospitality and tourism industry,” he said.

“Generally, roadblocks hurt economic activity. Imagine, from Harare to Kariba it is not surprising to encounter 20 roadblocks.

“HAZ is negotiating with the police and we have also petitioned Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seized with the issue of numerous roadblocks as well as inefficiencies at ports of entry (border posts),” Manyumwa, who is also Zimbabwe Council of Tourism vice-president, said.

Police have previously defended their heavy presence on the highways, saying this was meant to curb road carnage.

Manyumwa also said HAZ was lobbying for a special dispensation for the hospitality and tourism industry to have a reduction of value-added tax from the current 15% to 5%.

He said Statutory Instrument 64, which restricts the importation of certain classes of goods, should be an enabler for hospitality and tourism industry growth.

Manyumwa reiterated the need for a relaxation of statutory tax obligations that industry players had to pay to various government and quasi-governmental institutions.

“There is need to walk the talk regarding the ease of doing business in Zimbabwe,” the HAZ president said.

The congress, held under the theme Economic Recovery through Tourism and Hospitality, saw Manyumwa retained as HAZ president, while Innocent Manyere and Naume Size were re-elected first and second vice-president, respectively.