Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Cash-strapped RETOSA pulls the plug on board meetings

The bankrupt Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) has moved to reduce the number of board meetings amid the financial problems that are beleaguering it.

Following failure by most SADC states to pay their subscription fees, the regional body has been hit by a cash crunch.

RETOSA Chief Executive Officer, Simba Mandinyenya, confirmed in an interview that the organisation was experiencing cash flow problems because of failure by member countries to pay their dues. 

“This then cripples the organisation. In that situation it is important that the board also takes responsibility when the organisation is performing poorly,” added Mandinyenya.

However, Mandinyenya refused to name countries that failed to pay their subscriptions.

RETOSA’s cash flow crisis has come amid threats by South Africa and Botswana to pullout of the organisation.┬á

“The organisation spends roughly $US 45┬á000 per board meetings. For the three meetings held the costs accumulate to above $US 135┬á000. In a year like this one where the majority of member states have not paid their subscriptions, this cost becomes a major source for cash flow problems,” said Mandinyenya.

He said that the board agreed to reduce the board meetings to two not three as usual. He also indicated that RETOSA has appointed a consultant to undertake a study on the possibility of restructuring the organisation which will fall under the ambit of the SADC secretariat as other countries have proposed.

Former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Kitso Mokaila, had proposed at the meeting in Mauritius earlier this year that the RETOSA secretariat should remain under the structure of SADC headquarters in Gaborone.

He said that currently the secretariat, which is in South Africa, was not benefiting Botswana despite enormous financials towards the secretariat.

Mokaila had contended that their subscription was not benefiting the country because every country was marketing itself.

┬áMokaila had indicated that South Africa supported Botswana’s position to relocate the RETOSA to the SADC secretariat.

Botswana had also proposed that current board be disbanded. The country wants a situation where CEOs of tourism organisations from SADC countries sit on the RETOSA board.

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