via Zimbabwe Reserve Bank reads riot act January 31, 2014 By Tarisai Mandizha NewsDay
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has given tourism operators an ultimatum to submit tourism receipts amid concern there were rampant leakages of revenue in the sector.
Presenting the monetary policy statement on Wednesday, RBZ acting governor Charity Dhliwayo said the country was experiencing endemic leakages of earnings in the tourism sector particularly with regards to non–consumptive tourism.
“In terms of section 35 (1) of the Exchange Control Regulations Statutory Instrument (SI)109 of 1996, all non-compliant tour operators are being directed to immediately regularise their positions before the close of business on Friday, February 14, 2014,” Dhliwayo said.
In 2012, RBZ and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) introduced the Tourism Receipts Accounting System (TRAS) in a bid to improve accounting for tourism earnings.
TRAS is a web-based application for recording tourism data and enables non-consumptive tourism operators to submit monthly returns to the RBZ through banks.
Dhliwayo said despite the introduction of TRAS a substantial number of tour operators have not complied.
“We note with great concern that since the introduction of TRAS a significant number of tour operators have complied with the requirements to regularly submit TRAS forms to the Reserve Bank on a monthly basis,” Dhliwayo said.
She, however, said the promotion of investment inflows into the country through normal banking channels entailed that all foreign investment funds be received through corporate accounts locally opened and operated by the locally incorporated companies partly or wholly owned by foreign investors or through trust accounts operated by law firms.
According to the 2014 budget statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said tourism contribution to the economy was currently estimated at about 10% and has the potential to grow to 15% by 2015.
In 2013, the sector was estimated to grow by 3,4%.
Chinamasa said at least 2,1 million tourist arrivals were expected in 2013, a 17% growth from the 1,8 million recorded in 2012.
The 2013 arrivals translated to $851 million in revenue.
“The tourism revenue receipts, however, do not seem to tally with the recorded increase in tourist arrivals. There is, therefore, an urgent need for Zimbabwe to embrace the Tourism Satellite Account module a statistical package designed to accurately measure the sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product,” Chinamasa said.