Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu has put in place measures in the proposed 2021 national budget to revive the tourism industry which has been negatively affected by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Presenting the 2021 proposed national budget to parliament yesterday, Dr Bwalya explained that the tourism sector is the hardest hit by COVID-19 with virtually no international tourist arrivals since March 2020 due to travel restrictions and subdued domestic tourist activity.
He said this is why government has been implementing relief measures to resuscitate the sector.
The Minister stated the measures announced in the 2021 national budget are in addition to other existing incentives granted in response to COVID-19 earlier this year.
“Sir, to resuscitate the tourism sector and promote local tourism, I propose the following measures, reduce corporate income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent on income earned by hostels and lodges on accommodation and food services,” he said.
He also announced the suspension of import duty on safari game viewing motor vehicles, tourist busses and coaches.
The Minister further announced the suspension of license of renewal fees paid by hotels and lodges, suspension of retention fees paid by tourism enterprises and the registration fees for hotel managers.
Dr Bwalya has proposed tax incentives to encourage local content and value addition and the investment threshold for Zambian citizens to qualify for tax incentives under the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Act No11 of 2006 to US$ 100,000 from US$ 500,000 for those intending to operate in a priority sector such as multi facility economic zone or industrial park.
“I am pleased to note that domestic tourism has started to rise, I wish to encourage all citizens to continue supporting the tourism industry while observing the COVID-19 health guidelines,” he added.
And Minister of Tourism and Arts Ronald Chitotela has expressed optimism that the measures announced in the 2021 national budget will go a long way in the revamping and promotion of local tourism in the country.
Mr Chitotela explained to ZANIS in an interview, that the tourism industry is one of the key economic sectors of the country, hence any initiative aimed at restoring its full capacity will have a positive impact to the country’s economic development.
“This is good news for us, the suspension of duty of tourism vehicles for and other incentives will encourage many people to venture in tourism thereby boosting the local tourism and as operators they must also reciprocate through prices reduction for the incentives to benefit as many Zambians as possible to enjoy the tourism services in the country,” he pointed out.