N$20 million each for NWR, NTB, Zambezi Waterfront

08 Apr 2015 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 08 APR (NAMPA) - Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) and the Zambezi Waterfront are expected to receive N.dollars 20 million each this financial year from the budget of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
This was revealed in the government's spending plans for the 2015/2016 financial year and the following two years, as tabled in the National Assembly by Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein last week.
While a collective N.dollars 100 million was allocated to the three parastatals during the previous financial year (2014/2015), only N.dollars 60 million has been budgeted for the 2015/2016 financial year.
The budget allocation to the NWR is intended for the development of tourism facilities, while the allocation for the NTB is earmarked for the development of Namibia’s tourism sector, and that of the Zambezi Waterfront is for the facility’s development.
In the past, these entities were accused of being a financial burden for Government.
Newly appointed Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta last Thursday reprimanded these entities, saying they should increase their profits and market share or the terms of board members would be cut short.
He was speaking during the ministry’s first meeting for the year with staff members and line State-owned enterprises (SOEs). During the meeting, the new Deputy Minister of Environment, Tommy Nambahu was also introduced to staff members.
“NWR, as the nation’s flagship accommodation provider and with the recent completion of a number of developments and upgrades, is now positioned to further increase its profitability and market growth. I would like to see NWR pass the break-even point and increase its market share,” Shifeta said.
He stated that during his tenure, he wants to see board members perform and play their part in transforming these institutions.
“As institutes with sound governance structures, I expect management to be answerable to the board that the minister has appointed and I expect the board to be answerable and accountable to the minister who appoints them. Non-performing board members will see their tenure cut short,” he cautioned.
Speaking about the NTB, Shifeta suggested that the entity should not only improve the marketing of Namibia internationally, but also stimulate investment in the country’s communal areas for communities and previously advantaged Namibians so that they benefit fairly from tourism.
Meanwhile, the Zambezi Waterfront and tourism park project has been reassigned to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to be run by NWR in March 2014. The project, which was started by Government in the year 2005, previously resorted under the Ministry of Finance. It has so far cost Government over N.dollars 150 million to develop the first two phases of the project. It required a further injection of over N.dollars 70 million to be completed.
Speaking at the handing over of the project in Katima Mulilo, Shifeta, who was previously the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, appealed to NWR to take prudent measures before incorporating the project in its business plan.
“We hope that this project will become an important tourism attraction. It would be pleasing if NWR takes the necessary steps to assess the current situation of the project and put in place a strategic business plan. This project should be self-sustaining and should not become one of those projects that financially burden the government,” he stressed.
The Zambezi Waterfront Tourism Park which sits on an elevated stretch of land measuring about 22 hectares on the banks of the Zambezi River, is largely a hospitality entity, but will also comprise community tourism activities such as wood carving, weaving and basketry.
Each of these SOEs will receive a budget of about N.dollars 21 million during the 2016/2017 financial year.