16 Mar 2016 09:30am
WINDHOEK, 16 MAR (NAMPA) Professional hunting activities are expected to bring in more than N.dollars 4.3 million to Government this financial year, according to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the 2016/2017 to 2018/2019 financial years.
The MTEF, which was issued in February when Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein tabled the 2016/2017 National Budget, projects that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) could pocket millions from professional hunting activities under its non-tax revenue outlook for the 2016/2017 financial year alone.
Estimates include N.dollars 3.8 million from wildlife utilisation permits and N.dollars 150 000 from the registration of professional hunters, while other registration and licenses is estimated to rake in about N.dollars 420 000 during this financial year.
The Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) programme has again proven that it can contribute towards the alleviation of poverty and the plight of rural communities. Development of enterprises to diversify income opportunities in many conservancies has been a key target and this was achieved under the CBNRM programme, a summary assessment of recent past performance achievements in the MTEF stated.
The total number of conservancies in the country stands at 83 and benefits more than 300 000 rural Namibians. A total of 71 were awarded wildlife utilisation quotas and trophy hunting, which has become the most important contributor of income to conservancies after photographic joint venture tourism.
Under the ministerial target, MET is also planning to award six concessions to provide for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation through wildlife and tourism concessions in protected areas and other state lands during the 2016/2017 financial year.
Concerns and debates around the role of trophy hunting in conservation areas raged last year after the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe and an endangered black rhino in Namibia.
These two incidents triggered the demand to ban trophy hunting in Namibia and throughout Africa, and according to international reports, Delta Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Singapore Airways, Lufthansa, Air Emirates, Iberia Airlines, IAG Cargo, and Qantas, amongst others, last year banned the transportation of hunters' animal trophies.
Last month, the European Parliament also called for a ban on trophy hunting imports into the European Union (EU).
Meanwhile, Cabinet two weeks ago directed the MET to actively campaign against such attempts to ban or restrict hunting and the export of wildlife products.
Professional hunters enter into agreements with conservancies to shoot lions, elephants, rhinos and other game. The hunter is then entitled to their trophy and the meat is distributed among conservancy members. Thus, a ban on transport of hunting trophies on some airlines might prevent hunters from showing any interest in the hunting quota they share with conservancies in Namibia.
The overall budget of MET is close to N.dollars 582 million, which includes an operational budget of close to N.dollars 443 million and about N.dollars 139 million for the development budget. All those figures could be less and inhabitants of conservancies not have an income if trophy hunting is banned.