Saturday, December 29, 2007

Levy advises Zambians to invest in hard work

Levy advises Zambians to invest in hard work
By Amos Malupenga in Mfuwe
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]

Zambians must invest in hard work and not nationality if they want to succeed in whatever they do, President Levy Mwanawasa has advised. And Mushroom Lodge chairman Friday Ndhlovu has called on the government to give the Luangwa Valley a VAT free status in a bid to promote tourism in the area as is the case in Livingstone.

Officially opening Mushroom Lodge and the Presidential House in South Luangwa National Park on Thursday, President Mwanawasa said Zambians could succeed in anything they wanted to do as shown by Ndhlovu’s determination over the years. He said it was sad that most Zambians wanted to use their nationality as collateral instead of investing in hard work and integrity in business.

“Most Zambians would say ‘give me this business because I am a Zambian; a foreigner cannot get this business when I am here as a Zambian’,” President Mwanawasa said. “Stop using nationality as a collateral unless it is laced with hard work, integrity and a motive to create development for people and make profit thereafter.”

President Mwanawasa said anyone approaching him for help or assistance in business or anything else on the basis that they were Zambians would not succeed because he would be a wrong sympathiser.

“I will just tell you that ‘you have chosen a wrong sympathiser,” President Mwanawasa said. “Friday Ndhlovu has succeeded not as a Zambian but as a Friday Ndhlovu, a hard working individual.”

President Mwanawasa said tourism was a people-oriented industry which served the people by the people themselves. He said tourism, worldwide, had emerged to play a role as a fastest growing industry and was to become a driving force to boost the world economy now and in future.

President Mwanawasa said last year, Mfuwe registered 18,000 foreign visitors and 12,000 Zambian tourists while the park recorded 900 jobs.

President Mwanawasa said Zambia, like all Southern African countries, depended on biodiversity and mainly wildlife to attract tourists. He said the Luangwa ecosystem was famous for its rich and diverse wildlife resource and hosted the big five. He said it was therefore important for Zambia to conserve its flora and fauna.

“It is with this resolve that my government has committed itself to preserving our national and cultural heritage for future generations to come,” President Mwanawasa said.

He said programmes such as the re-introduction of the black Rhinoceros in North Luangwa National Park were meant to mitigate the effects of poaching and to restore the tourist fibre of the area.

President Mwanawasa said the Tourism Development Credit Facility was meant to provide Zambians with alternative sources of livelihood, especially for the rural communities. He said he was delighted and encouraged to see Zambians fully participating in the development of tourism at an international scale, like the Mushroom Lodge. He urged Zambians not to be spectators in the tourism sector but to be active participants.

However, President Mwanawasa urged the tourism industry to offer incentives to locals by considering a two tier pricing system; a rate for locals and another rate for foreign tourists. He also said that government was committed to addressing the problem of poor infrastructure, particularly critical tourist access roads and airports.

And speaking earlier, Ndhlovu said the opening of Mushroom Lodge marked a new era in the Zambian tourism sector which has been dominated by foreign investors. He said Mushroom Lodge was the first large Zambian investment in South Luangwa National Park, and probably in the whole valley offering a competitive product of world class standards which caters for even the most discerning tourists or travellers. Ndhlovu said they had invested US$1.6 million with the help of Development Bank of Zambia and other stakeholders.

He said the lodge was designed by a Zambian and built by Zambians under the supervision of a Zambian. He said the lodge’s management has plans to build two bush camps next year.

Ndhlovu urged the government to improve security in the park because cases of thefts of property and unruly behaviour such as noises from the bars and discos were on the increase. He said the emergence of housing estates without proper planning was posing a security risk and urged the government to find a lasting solution to the human/animal conflict now prevalent in the area.

Ndhlovu further said the Chipata-Mfuwe road required a permanent solution to avoid costly yearly road repairs and that recent increases in levies needed toning down.
“Please, do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Ndhlovu said.
“Why not give the valley VAT status? Why Livingstone alone?”



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