Saturday, November 27, 2021

Botswana loses millions in uncollected Park Fees at Kgalagadi Transfrontier

Thousands of tourists – both locally and international who visited the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) between 2000 and 2021 did not pay required fees according to new information emerging from Parliament this past week.

KTP, a luxurious wildlife park established through a bilateral agreement between Botswana and South Africa in April 1999 has been receiving thousands of tourists both from Botswana and international community via South Africa. The wildlife rich park is a result of an amalgamation of the former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (South Africa) and the Gemsbok National Park (Botswana).

Part of the KTP agreement between Botswana and South Africa was the establishment of a revenue sharing formula between the two neighbouring countries for the proceeds made from park entrance fees. After the establishment of the Park on the 12th May 2000, the two neighbouring countries agreed that the park entrance fees and vehicle fees were to be shared on 50/50 basis.

This week, it however emerged that Botswana has derived a paltry P13 580 651 as turnover between 2009/2010 and the 2019/2020 financial years.

Minister responsible for Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism – Hilda Kereng told Parliament on Friday that Botswana has not yet completed the internal processes that are requirements for the enforcement of the agreement signed 21 years ago.

Parliament was however informed that a correction measure has been put in place, with Wildlife department having already ensured that all the requirements have been met and have communicated the same to their South African counterparts through the Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation in February 2021.

 “My ministry will be engaging with our counterparts in South Africa on the modalities and logistical arrangement for sharing of the funds,” said kereng.

Kereng further told Parliament that the bulk of the tourists visiting KTP come in from the South African side and therefore, Botswana will benefit from increased revenue by getting a 50 percent share of the total revenue received. 

Currently each KTP partner country is responsible for the maintenance of its own infrastructure including roads and boreholes. The neighbouring South Africa currently maintains the main road between two rivers to unions end while Botswana on the other end has paid for connection of electricity to the Botswana side.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper