By Staff Reporters
LOCAL Safari hunting outfitters have complained that the recent revised trophy fees by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) under the Ministry of Tourism are uneconomical.
In a document submitted to DNPW during the stakeholders meeting in Chilanga recently, the local Safari hunting outfitters submitted that the revised fees were not economical as they were operating in an environment where there were no available funding, unaffordable bank interest rates, depressed international market for up-market safari hunting and loss of market competitiveness due to increasing cost of doing business.
The local Safari hunting outfitters also submitted that imposition of VAT, Tourism Enterprise license requirement, skills levy, tourism levy, service charge and increased ammunition import duty affected their business.
“Variation of concession fees among outfitting companies with those awarded concession agreements paying substantially more than those awarded administratively. This creates an even playing field and gives a distinct marketing advantage to those paying less concession fees,” read the document in part. “Trophy fee increases to uneconomic levels will decrease demand for some species i. e. Buffalo. This species is the most sought-after safari trophy in Zambia. Buffalo quotas far outnumber those for any other species and therefore they are the most economically important animal allocated to Safari companies. Any reduction in demand for Buffalo due to increased pricing will have a knock-on effect on overall quota requirements for a hunting block.”
According to some Safari Outfitters, a Buffalo was now cost US $1, 600.
“This is due to the fact that every Buffalo safari hunt sold includes the sale of another 6 or 7 animals that are hunted along with the Buffalo. Obviously reduced Buffalo demand will lead to a substantial decrease in demand for a range of other species. This is to no one’s benefit,” read the document. “Similarly, uneconomic trophy prices for Buffalo will reduce overall quota requirement, too great an increase in prices for other sought-after trophies will mean these being hunted on game farms and not in GMAs/hunting blocks.”
The local outfitters also cited prohibitive cost of motor vehicle replacement and camp construction materials and equipment as some of the bottlenecks faced by the local safari companies adding that the current financial situation facing safaris hunting companies was not comparable to the time at which the tenders for hunting blocks were being prepared.
“The cost of doing business has escalated hugely while markets are depressed and turnover for companies remains static and is in many cases reducing,” read the document.
According to the local outfitters, prior to commencement of hunting, they were required to pay agent’s commission, on average 20 per cent of selling rate, outfitter’s ;license; US$ 2, 500 for secondary area and US$ 3, 000 for prime areas. They were also required to pay concession fees, which were increasing at three per cent per annum, cash pledges to community, law enforcement, fire management, infrastructure, resource monitoring, Tourism enterprise license, one third of 60 per cent of trophy utilization in advance, US$ 50, 000 performance bond guarantee and public liability insurance.
While once operational, the local outfitters were required to pay Tourism levy, skills levy on wages, VAT on Kwacha expenses, 10 per cent service charge, NAPSA, personal levy and local council levy. Other fees include balance of 60 per cent of trophy fees, TIEP cost and ammunition duty, GMA permit and obligatory bird license, hunting rights fee and trophy dip and pack fees.