ZAMBIANS should brace for even more hash economic times as a result of the COVID-19, says NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba.

And the UNWTO says that millions of jobs are at risk as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit tourism harder than any other sector.

In an interview, Akafumba, a prominent lawyer, said with the PF’s failure to manage the nation’s economy in a diligent way, poor Zambians would be pushed deeper into poverty.

“With the COVID-19 yet to pick up pace in Zambia, I fear for the worst in terms of the economy. The PF has already made Zambians weak by sending the country deep into debt and as we recover from the 2019 drought and the gassing incidences, I would like to urge Zambians to brace for more hash economic situation. I see the Zambia Revenue Authority not collecting as much revenue as it is supposed to and this will lead to delayed salaries for public workers while the private sector will resort to downsizing its workforce due to poor business. The poor will now be more poorer,” Akafumba said.

He added that youths and women who work in bars and nightclubs would be hit the hardest as bar owners would have to down size or be forced to close their businesses.

“I have heard that the Livingstone Museum has closed until further notice and this will greatly affect the tour operators. Already Livingstone is in stress as tourism arrivals have shrunk to their
lowest,” said Akafumba.

The United Nations specialised tourism agency on tourism says it has included innovation in its wider response to the pandemic.

In a statement made available to The Mast, the UNWTO indicated that it was working closely alongside WHO to mitigate the impact and place tourism at the centre of future recovery efforts and liaise closely with governments and the private sector to boost collaboration and international solidarity.

The UNWTO secretary general Zurab Pololikashvili said there was need to embrace innovations.

“I call on all entrepreneurs and innovators with ideas that are developed and ready to be put into action to share them with us. In particular, we want to hear ideas that will help communities recover
from this crisis, economically and socially, as well as ideas that can contribute to the public health response,” Pololikashvili said.

He revealed that the UNWTO had introduced a ‘Healing Solution’ for tourism challenge completion, which closes on April 10 and winners will be invited to pitch their ideas to representatives of more than 150 governments.

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