TOURISM Minister Ronald Chitotela says tourist operators have described the 2021 national budget as a “tourist budget” because of various stimulus packages in their favour.

And Chitotela says artists have also assured him that come 2021, they will retain President Edgar Lungu for giving them the first ever incentive amounting to K30 million.

Speaking when he debated on the 2021 budget in parliament, Tuesday, Chitotela said the 2021 budget was full of incentives.

“Mr Speaker, when you have done the good things, it becomes very difficult even for your critics to critic it. But they will find a way of watering down the best of the intention that this government under the able leadership of His Excellency President Lungu has done for the people of Zambia. Mr Speaker, some debaters last week did indicate that the 2021 budget instead of choosing the way of continuous restriction in terms of expenditure, we have gone in terms of economic rebooting. Mr Speaker, if you check the budget, you have seen that there is a lot of stimulus package that has been put in the budget. And speaking for the Ministry of Tourism, the tour operators are calling it the tourism budget for 2021,” Chitotela said.

Chitotela said President Lungu was the first sitting President to think for the informal sector and for the artists.

“Mr Speaker, this hasn’t happened in a long time that a sector has been given so many intensives so that we can recover from COVID-19 effects. And for this Mr Speaker we want to thank His Excellency the President and the Minister of Finance for listening to the cries of the operators out there, and Mr Speaker, including the artists out there, it has never happened in Zambia. President Lungu is the first sitting President to think for the informal sector, the artists and provide a K30 million stimulus package so that our people who are involved in the art can also participate in the economic activities,” Chitotela said.

He said artists had assured him of a vote for President Lungu in 2021 for empowering them with a stimulus package.

“And Mr Speaker, I want to encourage the Minister [of Finance] that with these budget presentation and proposals, come 2021, come 2021 we will still be on the right hand side because the Zambian people are looking for stimulus packages, they are looking for a government that is listening to their cries. Mr Speaker it is the first time in the Zambian history that today, we have a reduction in the corporate tax in the tourism sector 35 per cent to 15 per cent. I think we need to thank the minister that ‘minister, job well done’. We need to thank the President that the package that has been given to the tour operators and people who want to engage themselves in the Safari viewing vehicles, coaches, and luxury buses. This incentive Mr Speaker was given last in 1992 by the late President Dr Frederick Titus Jacob Chiluba. That is why Mr Speaker, those people out there, the tourist operators would not risk to change the government that is working for them. With these few words Mr Speaker, I want to encourage the minister and His Excellency the President that Job well done and Zambians out there including the artists who have said. ‘go and assure the President that come 2021, we will retain him so that he can continue giving us the incentives that we require,” said Chitotela.