Tue, 22 Nov 2016 11:23:06 +0000
ANNUAL renewal fees for 2015 amounting to K687,560 have not yet been collected from 674 establishments consisting of hotels, motels, lodges and guest houses, among others, Ministry of Tourism and Arts permanent secretary Stephen Mwansa told the Parliamentary Accounts Committee yesterday.
The committee also interrogated Mr. Mwansa on why there was no safe at the Ndola regional tourism office as reported by the Auditor General, thus leaving money and documents vulnerable and unsecured.
Mr. Mwansa said the ministry had not collected 2015 annual renewal fees from 278 establishments in Ndola, 171 in Lusaka and 225 in Livingstone.
Appearing before the committee, Mr. Mwansa ─ who is also the controlling officer in the Ministry of Tourism and Arts ─ attributed the failure to inadequate funding for inspections to the regional offices under the Department of Tourism.
He also said the ministry lacked adequate staffing levels in the regional offices for standards inspectors mandated to enforce compliance from the establishment.
“The standards inspectors have been unable to monitor the minimum standards from these establishments so as to enforce compliance levels,” Mr. Mwansa said.
PF Senga Hill Member of Parliament Kapembwa Simbao took Mr. Mwansa to task on why the ministry had not collected annual renewal fees to date and what measure were put in place to ensure that uncollected revenue was collected.
Mr. Mwansa claimed that the outstanding revenue in amounts totalling to K637,560 at the time of the audit had since reduced to K441,013 after a reconciliation was done by the ministry.
He also told the committee that some of the establishments were closed, making it difficult for the ministry to collect the fees.
Mr. Mwansa, however, said efforts were underway to collect the outstanding amount.
“We are still on the ground concerning this issue, and before the end of this year we should be able to come up with something. We are planning to hire people to collect the money for us,” he said.