Tanzania has formulated new rules to help tap at least $30 million more from its struggling hunting industry, a sector policymakers see as a key economic growth driver from next year.
Expects say the sector will bring home $53 million, up from an annual $20 million, bringing it closer to being one of Tanzania’s largest foreign exchange earners.
Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Ezekiel Maige said the rules should help the industry make a bigger contribution to the economy, due to its huge potential.
Under the tourist hunting rules, the wildlife rich country will see the licence fee for its prime hunting blocks rising from $27,000 to $60,000 a year.
The revised guidelines also categorised the hunting blocks into five, depending on type and number of animals to be hunted.
Mr Maige says category I has 24 blocks hunting permit fee $60,000 each, while group II has 98 blocks and a hunting fee of $30,000 apiece.
Category III, with 18 blocks, has a hunting licence fee of $18,000 each; while class IV and V with eight hunting blocks each will have a permit fee of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.
The categorisation was done according to the animals to be hunted, block size and availability of wildlife resources to ensure sustainable tourist hunting and diversity of animal species.
Other factors include hunting bloc accessibility, in terms of terrain and infrastructure from the country’s commercial city of Dar es salaam or the safari capital of Arusha, reliable water supply and scope of human activities within the block.
Mr Maige said that in establishing a hunting block, the boundaries of the proposed blocks are demarcated by Global Positioning System (GPS), according to their potential for wildlife recovery in a given time frame and investment.
Though the minister was silent on the trophy fee, word has it that under the new structure, the trophy fee for hunting a lion is most likely to have risen to $12,000, up from just $2,500.
Hunters may also be required to pay $15,000 to kill an elephant, from the previous fee of $5,000. Hunters are still silent on the fee increase.
Of the African hunting countries, Tanzania undoubtedly stimulates the imagination.
It has long been considered a prime hunting destination in Africa.
Fulfilling the dream of a traditional big game hunting safari continues to be a big draw to Tanzania’s unspoiled wilderness.
The country is home to a wide range of wildlife and still allows hunting of four of the famous Big Five species: Elephant, lion, buffalo (syncerus caffer caffer) and leopard.
More than 60 species of animals can be hunted in the country on a tourist-hunting license.
The Director of Wildlife Division, Erastus Tarimo, said they are currently receiving applications for tourist hunting block allocation for 2013-2018.
He said that applicants who are Tanzanians should produce a bank bond of guarantee to the tune of at least $300,000.
A foreign-owned hunting firm is required to produce a bank bond of $1,000,000, in case the applicant doesn’t have the required equipment such as refrigerators, tents and generators.
In accordance with the Wildlife Conservation Act, Cap.283, no person shall be considered for allocation of a hunting block unless she or he has a company intending to engage in hunting of animals registered with the Registrar of companies.
Also, at least one of the directors should have at least five years experience in wildlife based business and conservation in Tanzania, and the shares of the company to be owned by citizens should not be less than 25 per cent.
Each application for allocation of a hunting block shall be submitted to the director together with a copy of the memorandum and articles of association of the company; a copy of the certificate of incorporation; TIN certificate of VAT registration number and four passport size photographs of all directors and shareholders.
In 2008, Parliament unearthed a dubious deal involving lease of hunting blocks which siphoned $80 million from the country annually.
Tabling a private motion in the House on hunting contracts, former Kwela Member of Parliament Chrissant Mzindakaya said professional and tourist hunting denied the treasury nearly $60 million from fees paid by hunting firms, regardless of the concentration of wildlife in the hunting blocks.
He said some foreign hunting companies violated the rules and bribed top bureaucrats to make hefty profits.