Usi bemoans payments’ delay in govt

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi has faulted some civil servants responsible for processing payments in the Ministry of Finance for delaying disbursement of funds.

Usi said despite the Ministry of Finance being relevant and supportive to ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), the process of disbursing funds for some operations takes ages because of the attitude of some officers in government which, he said, kills development plans.

Usi disclosed this in an interview on Wednesday at Kasungu National Park where, together with Ministers of Finance and Transport, Sosten Gwengwe and Nancy Chaola Mdoko respectively, visited to appreciate developments that are happening at the park which is under rehabilitation.

Usi (in a black cap) flanked by Mdoko (left) and Gwengwe(4th right) being briefed by department of national park and wildlife official.

“The Ministry of Finance has very good policies but when directives are given, for instance, saying let us disburse this amount of money to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife for this to happen, it takes a very long time because of the attitude of civil servants in Finance Ministry,” said Usi.

Currently, government has identified a new investor from Germany which will rebuild Lifupa Lodge and improve the business at the park.

Minister of Finance, Sosten Gwengwe, appreciated the efforts which the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife is making, saying national parks and game reserves can sustainably fund themselves and not rely on national budget if investment in tourism and wildlife conservation can be done fully by government.

“From where I stand as a ministry, we intend to embark on serious budget reforms because we are funding institutions that have an ability to fund themselves and be weaned from the budget.

Gewngwe (left): national parks and game reserves can sustainably fund themselves 

“We believe that with support from International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other organizations of good will, we will come up with strategies and good plans to make sure that places like these should generate enough revenue in order to fund themselves,” Gwengwe said.

The Finance Minister added that if fully supported, national parks and game reserves in the country can, not only support their operations, but also pump in some money into government accounts.