ZIM TOUR OPERATORS ACCUSE BOTSWANA OF UNFAIR BUSINESS PRACTICE

ZIMBABWE’S tour operators have alleged unfair business practices by their Botswana counterparts, whereby they bring their clients straight to the country instead of letting them do that on their behalf.

Travel and tour operators told NewsDay Business that the practice by their Botswana counterparts was unfair as it meant that almost everything was paid for in the country of origin, translating into unimaginable revenue leakages and little revenue coming to Zimbabwe.

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

At the moment, as Beneath Africa Travel Tours, yes we are doing well in terms of the business, but it could be better. What I mean by it could be better; you discover that now we need somebody, we need an organisation that can protect our interests,” Beneath Africa Travel and Tours managing director Ranjis Nyakusengwa said.

“For example, we are 70km away from Botswana, whenever we take our clients to Botswana; we have to work hand-in-hand with the local company in that country. But the Botswana people when they want to bring their businesses to Zimbabwe, they bring their businesses straight to Zimbabwe,” he said.

“So we are having a challenge whereby our clients are being taken care of in Botswana. Why the clients prefer Botswana than us in Zimbabwe? We are a registered company, we have got permits to pay, we have got employees to pay, now the guys in Botswana will just buy a car and then off they start the work and bring the clients. You will find that they are paying less to the Botswana people than to Zimbabwean registered tour operators.”

Nyakusengwa said some of the tour operators in Botswana were not registered and were not guides.
“They are transporters like taxis, so if you jump into the taxi, you go to point A and point B, you pay $5, he will take you there. No information, no anything. I have got a feeling that our business has been taken away by Botswana tour operators. In Botswana their laws are not as much as on our side to register. If you have got a vehicle that can run, do it. That’s our challenge,” he said.

DK Tours and Safaris consultant Webster Musaidzi weighed in saying they were also having challenges with Zimbabwe’s methods of payment. 

“We are having a challenge with the mode of payments. The payments part of it, for us it’s a big problem where you can’t get your money from the bank. The client deposits money into the company account where the authorities take about a percentage, 20% of that it’s exchanged at the prevailing rate at the bank which is not as favourable,” he said.

“You also have to bear in mind that some of us are, in most cases, get a 20% commission and the rest to the operator. Now when the government comes in and takes 20% that I’m supposed to get from the operator and converts it into local currency, which means I don’t have money. Those are the sort of the challenges.”

Efforts to get a comment from Botswana tour operators were fruitless.

Zim tour operators accuse Botswana of unfair business practice

ZIMBABWE’S tour operators have alleged unfair business practices by their Botswana counterparts, whereby they bring their clients straight to the country instead of letting them do that on their behalf. According to a Newsday Zimbabwe report

Travel and tour operators told NewsDay Business that the practice by their Botswana counterparts was unfair as it meant that almost everything was paid for in the country of origin, translating into unimaginable revenue leakages and little revenue coming to Zimbabwe.

“At the moment, as Beneath Africa Travel Tours, yes we are doing well in terms of the business, but it could be better. What I mean by it could be better; you discover that now we need somebody, we need an organisation that can protect our interests,” Beneath Africa Travel and Tours managing director Ranjis Nyakusengwa said.

“For example, we are 70km away from Botswana, whenever we take our clients to Botswana; we have to work hand-in-hand with the local company in that country. But the Botswana people when they want to bring their businesses to Zimbabwe, they bring their businesses straight to Zimbabwe,” he said.

“So we are having a challenge whereby our clients are being taken care of in Botswana. Why the clients prefer Botswana than us in Zimbabwe? We are a registered company, we have got permits to pay, we have got employees to pay, now the guys in Botswana will just buy a car and then off they start the work and bring the clients. You will find that they are paying less to the Botswana people than to Zimbabwean registered tour operators.”

Nyakusengwa said some of the tour operators in Botswana were not registered and were not guides.
“They are transporters like taxis, so if you jump into the taxi, you go to point A and point B, you pay $5, he will take you there. No information, no anything. I have got a feeling that our business has been taken away by Botswana tour operators. In Botswana their laws are not as much as on our side to register. If you have got a vehicle that can run, do it. That’s our challenge,” he said.

DK Tours and Safaris consultant Webster Musaidzi weighed in saying they were also having challenges with Zimbabwe’s methods of payment. 

“We are having a challenge with the mode of payments. The payments part of it, for us it’s a big problem where you can’t get your money from the bank. The client deposits money into the company account where the authorities take about a percentage, 20% of that it’s exchanged at the prevailing rate at the bank which is not as favourable,” he said.

“You also have to bear in mind that some of us are, in most cases, get a 20% commission and the rest to the operator. Now when the government comes in and takes 20% that I’m supposed to get from the operator and converts it into local currency, which means I don’t have money. Those are the sort of the challenges.”

Efforts to get a comment from Botswana tour operators were fruitless.

Botswana Issues Elephant Hunting Licenses, First Since 2014

BOTSWANA – For the first time in five years, elephant hunting will be legal in Botswana, with authorities planning to issue nearly 160 hunting licenses in coming weeks.  

The southern African country says the elephant population has gotten too big and needs to be curbed. 

In May this year, Botswana lifted a ban on elephant hunting, citing growing conflict between wildlife and humans.  

The country has an elephant population of more than 130,000, more than double its official capacity.

Seventy-two licenses will be given to non-citizens and will be awarded through a bidding process for next year’s hunting season, expected to begin in April.

Another 86 licenses have been reserved for locals, and are being awarded through a nationwide raffle system.  

Participation in the raffle is high. Maun, a wildlife zone in the northwestern part of the country, saw 5,990 locals jostling for just eight elephant hunting licenses reserved for the area.  

The government has said the licenses are not transferable, but a raffle winner, who preferred anonymity, says this makes them less attractive.

“It would have been ideal if the hunting licenses were transferable so that as a local, I can sell it to an international hunter to raise money,” said the license holder.  “As it stands, the benefit is the meat and keeping the trophy.”

Locals pay $800 for the license, and hunters will be accompanied by wildlife officers for the hunt.

The trophy, including the tusks, cannot be exported and should be kept by the license holder.

Despite the high interest in hunting licenses, Maun resident Boniface Keakabetswe feels the $800 fees was too steep, particularly for rural communities.

“There were raising concerns about the license price that is paid once people have won the elephant (licenses),” Keakabetswe said. “It is around P8,000 and they were saying that many people who are living in communities, who are part of the people who have applied for these licenses, are poor and many of them cannot afford the P8,000.”

A farmer, Davidson Mapetla from Gobajango in eastern Botswana, where more than 250 elephants have moved into human settlements, says the allocation of hunting licenses was not balanced.

“It is a pity that there are only areas that have been identified for hunting,” Mapetla said. “The hunting licenses that have been issued, I want to tell you, it is not going to help us here. The only thing that we are going to have here is another death, another destruction of crops.”

Botswana’s minister of environment and natural resources, Kitso Mokaila, says the hunting season will start off “slowly and cautiously.”

He says quotas were allocated in areas where there is increased conflict between humans and wildlife.

The first session of the hunting season runs between September and November. VOA

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for campaigns against sexual violence

Denis Mukwege  and Nadia Murad have been awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in trying to end sexual violence during war and armed conflict. There are many tragedies in war and among the worst are victims of sexual violence. Women’s bodies have become battle sites and sexual violence a weapon of war.ANP-30759164

Denis Mukwege is a medic based in the Democratic Republic of Congo and he and his staff have helped thousands of victims abused in its prolonged and bloody wars – and many more forcibly removed people besides. Mukwege also speaks, at much risk to himself, against Congolese governments and others who shield military rapists.

Murad is one such victim, developing a global witness as a UN Goodwill Ambassador to the abuse she suffered as a Yazidi at the hands of Islamic State. She has campaigned for the protection of survivors of human trafficking.

It is a comment frequently made that the Nobel Peace Prize is a contradiction, founded for “the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses” by an armaments manufacturer, notable for inventing dynamite.

Handing over the awarding of the Peace Prize to a five-person committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament, rather than to Sweden, reflects Norway’s long-established engagement in facilitating peace negotiations. Well before the Peace Prize was inaugurated in 1901, the Norwegian government was assisting the European Inter-Parliamentary Union’s work on mediation, an involvement in conflict resolution that continues to this day.file-20181005-72113-uc5vg8


Botswana trims growth prospects, sees wider budget deficits

Botswana’s economy is expected to expand by 4.5% this year, down from an estimate in February of 5.3%, the finance ministry said on Tuesday at a 2019 budget conference.

accessory balance blur close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A senior official in the diamond-producing southern African nation’s economy said the government expects an optimistic medium term outlook, with growth forecasts expected to rise moderately to 4.2% in 2019.

Deputy secretary for macroeconomic policy in the ministry of finance Kelapile Ndobano did not specify the sectors that had led to the downward revision in economic growth projections in 2018. Growth stood at 2.4% in 2017.

The forecast growth of 4.5% this year would be partly dependent on a continuous rebound in the global diamond market and stability in the supply of power and water, he said.

Ndobano also said Botswana sees its budget deficit widening for the current financial year to 2.3% of GDP from 1.8% of GDP announced in February.

Botswana has been running deficits for the past three years and expects the trend to continue until 2021, with the 2019 shortfall seen rising slightly to 2.4% of GDP.

To finance the 2019 deficit, government says it will borrow, both domestically and externally.

The wider deficit is largely due to a downward revision in anticipated minerals revenues as a result of a decision by the country’s largest diamond miner, Debswana, to start the implementation of some major projects during the current financial year.

Debswana, which is jointly owned by Botswana and Anglo’s De Beers, is the largest contributor to Botswana‘s government revenues. Reuters