Soon wildlife will be wiped out because govt is harvesting without investing – CRBs

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (centre) accompanied by Southern Province Minister Dr.Edify Hamukale and Wildlife Police Warden Lewis Daka when he visited the Musio-Tunya National Park in Livingstone on Tuesday,February 21,2017. PICTURE BY SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE

The Community Resources Boards (CRBs) Association has threatened not to allow hunting in the various Game Management Areas (GMAs) this year if money duly owed to them is not settled before the start of the hunting season due to commence this May.

CRBs national association coordinator Isaac Banda observed that there would be no tangible partnership between the government and CRBs if the two parties did not meet and confront the issues and financial challenges affecting them.

He said currently, there was just harvesting without investment and sooner or later, wildlife would be wiped out.

But Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Rev Howard Sikwela warned that government will not tolerate any disorderly behaviour perpetuated through threats and arm-twisting tactics over its decisions.

Speaking when he heard a petition from the CRBs, Thursday, who were demanding animal fees deducted in 2016, Rev Sikwela said the Boards would be held accountable for any disorder arising from their demands, adding that government would not work with threats and arm-twisting tactics.

The PS explained that his Ministry was already looking into fees owed across the country to leverage the pressures that communities were facing, and adding that it would be presumptuous for the Ministry to promise that all the money would be released by the Ministry of Finance at once, but that through the petition, his office would continue to lobby for the funds.

Rev Sikwela was, however, quick to mention that not all the money could be paid by the Ministry of Finance.

He said the petition would only help his office to push and be advised on which monies would be released.

Rev Sikwela explained to the representatives that all the monies collected by the Ministry, through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, were sent to Control Account 99 under the Ministry of Finance, and that it was only until such a time when the Ministry of Finance releases the money, the Tourism Ministry had no control whatsoever over the monies.

         

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