President Michael Sata has opposed the proposed tax of US$10 on African travellers each time they fly in and out of Africa to help fund the African Union.
This is among the proposals contained in the progress report of the AU high-level panel on alternative sources of funding which was chaired by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The air ticket levy was among the two proposals suggested by Obasanjo’s panel which met in Addis Ababa today,
The second option is a US$2 hospitality levy applicable for all hotel stays on the continent.
Discussing the progress report in a meeting today, President Michael Sata said Zambia has overpaid for the maintenance of the Organisation of Africa Unity, which is now the African Union and all other organisations to which Zambia is a member.
He noted that apart from AU, Africa still has a lot of problem of poverty, girl child education and unemployment among others.
“What we have to bear in mind is that apart from AU, we have more problems in Africa. Yesterday we heard about people not going to school, poverty, problems of the girl child and when you are suggesting US$10, that is a lot of money because Africa still has a lot of problems of emancipation,” President Sata said.
He has since called on the AU to come up with ways of minimizing expenditure for member countries by suggesting levies for particular programmes instead of levies on hotel accommodation and air tickets.
He explained that Zambia was working towards promoting its tourism industry and this will not be achieved if accommodation rates are hiked.
“We would like to attract tourism in Zambia. If hotels become expensive, then some people are going to rise against us. The airlines are going to be less profitable,” the President explained.
He said Zambia wants to encourage people doing business and attract more tourists to visit the country.
“If AU is running short of money, let us know how much they want us to contribute. We will not let Zambians or outsiders be levied,” he explained.
Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Egypt’s Muhammed Mossi are some of the leaders that supported President Sata’s stance.
Other countries which supported were Algeria and Chad.
The executive council of the UN at its ordinary session in 2012 endorsed the proposal by the commission to support the consultations on the alternative sources of funding through a high level panel of eminent personalities with a view to engage member states and coming up with definitive proposals for this standing issue.