The Ministry of
Tourism has negotiated a 6m Euro (25.2 billion) stimulus package from the European Union towards the private tourism sector for post lockdown operations.
This was disclosed by
the Accounting officer of the Ministry of Tourism, Doreen Katusiime while
interfacing with Members of Parliament on the Public
Accounts Committee (PAC) this morning.
While presenting a
statement on the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the sector prior to discussing audit
queries Katusiime noted that the tourism sector has been the hardest hit by the
lockdown and private facilities will have great difficulty reopening.
The discussion over a
stimulus for the sector was kick started by the deputy chairperson of the
committee Okin PP Ojara who queried why the sector never received any funds
from the COVID-19 supplementary budget that was approved by parliament.
He questioned if in
light of new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Hotels and lodges, funds were
not required to enable these facilities to weather the harsh economic times.
that the sector is majorly private sector led and liquidity problems that the
private tourism facilities are likely to face will be compounded by the new
SOPs that were launched last week.
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She says for instance
a requirement that after a guest checks out, another 24 hours is required for
cleaning among others.
She disclosed that the
EU stimulus package will be placed in the UDB for the private sector to borrow
at a discounted rate of 8%.
operations, Katusiime stated that out of a total budget of 197 billion shillings for the
sector, 75% is generated internally through agencies like UWA and UWEC whose
activities have been severely curtailed.
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Several hotels in the country are out of business during the
entire period of the COVID-19 lockdown especially because most of their clients are from