The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s (Zimparks) revenue in the first six months of 2019, went up by 149% to $31 million from $12.48 million in the comparable period last year, on the back of new foreign competitive tariffs introduced by the Government.
According to the Authority’s results presented Wednesday, during its AGM, total, tourism revenue from park entries, sale of park products and photographic leases accounted for 54%, 15% and 13% respectively. At least 40% of the income is forex.
“The growth was mainly driven by the foreign component tariffs paid by foreign clients resulting in us realising positive foreign currency gains in the wake of exchange rate movements,” director general Fulton Mangwanya said at the Authority’s annual general meeting.
Local clients went up 19% to 157 669 from 132 261 in the previous period. However, foreign clients went down 11% from 207 830 in the previous period to $184 972.
“The reduction of international clients was a result of various factors including the negative publicity which negatively affected our client base. We remain confident however that the continued re-engagement exercise by our Government will also help boost our clientele base,” he said,adding that they have since embarked on strategies that will increase market share both on the local and international markets.
Meanwhile, operating expenses surged 62% to $24.5 million from $15.15 million in the prior period last year. This was attributed to general price increases following the liberalization of the exchange rates by the treasury. Resultantly, a surplus of $6,55 million was recorded in the period compared to $2.67 million.
However, Zimparks, is still facing a challenge in collecting over $4.52 million owed by various clients of which $2.05 million relates to photographic tourism and $2.17 million consumptive tourism.
In the period under review, the Authority recorded an average debtor collection of 57 days from all invoices issued to clients.
“A number of these cases remain legal disputes under the jurisdiction of the courts of law and we remain optimistic that at their conclusion, the Authority will be able to recover all these amounts in order to fund its conservation mandate,” he said.
The Director General said the Authority remained technically insolvent with a net liability of $11.98 million.
In June this year, Government made a resolution to restructure the Authority’s liabilities amounting to $21.5 million largely to other government institutions. The move is poised to strengthen the balance sheet position.
The Authority’s liability position remained unfavorable owing to the liquidity challenges.
At least 80% of liabilities relate to statutory and payroll deductions.
“We are expecting that following the decision to restructure our debt, we will be in a position to honor all our obligations as and when they fall due.
In the meantime, Zimpak remains optimistic that it will continue to deliver its mandate of conserving the wildlife asset for the benefit of present and future generations.
Zimparks largest asset is the protected land measuring over 5 million hectares (13% of the country’s land) it’s flora and fauna under the banner of national parks which is not included in the balance sheet owing to various technical issues surrounding reporting framework (International Financial Reporting Standards). Despite all that, the Authority derives all its topline from the use of this alienable land and its flora and fauna.