After years of controversial public debates on the reform of block allocation and fee structure in the hunting industry the Tanzanian Government published new regulations at the beginning of February. All hunting blocks will be allocated in a new system for the period of 2013 to 2018. The number of blocks in the country has been increased from 158 to 190, and all of them have been graded into five classes according to their quality.
The hunting areas will be advertised and companies can apply. The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Ezekiel Maige told a press conference in Dar es Salaam that no decisions on allocation have been taken yet: “Let me clear rumors doing the rounds that the Minister had allocated some hunting blocks already. I am a man of integrity and value transparency and accountability,” said Maige.
The Minister however said the Tourist Hunting Regulations of 2010 have categorized hunting blocks in accordance with grade points whereby category I has 24 blocks hunting permit fee $60,000, category II has 95 blocks and its hunting fee is $30,000. Others include category III with 18 blocks of a hunting fee of $18,000, whereas in category IV with 8 hunting blocks attracts a fee of $10,000 and the last category with 8 blocks the hunters will have to pay a fee of $5,000. According to the minister, the grading has been done in accordance with the species and number of animals to be hunted and the diversity of flora and fauna. Its accessibility in terms of terrain and infrastructure from Dar es Salaam, reliable water supply and the scope of human activities are other factors taken into consideration, according to Minister Maige.
Until now the blocks of category I were only $27,000 US$ a year and until a few years ago all blocks were given out for only $7,500 US$ each per year.
Director of Wildlife Erasmus Tarimo revealed that for the hunting season that began in July 2010 to-date, the government has generated $36 million as direct fee. He said applicants who are Tanzanians are required to produce a bank bond of guarantee to the tune of at least $300,000 and for a foreign owned hunting company a bank bond of $1,000,000 is required as a guarantee.
It can be expected that TAHOA, the Tanzanian Hunting Operators Association, strongly opposes the new fee structure and will use its political influence to modify it. With fixed prices fort he blocks and no tendering process it remains unclear upon which criteria the allocation to companies will be based. Many Tanzanian hunting companies are owned by the families of former or present politicians and influential personalities. In the past the pressures upon the Director of Wildlife to allocate blocks to such companies has been strong.
Written by: Rolf Baldus
Original source: http://www.africanindaba.co.za/