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Illicit firearms, a menace to tourism-Rizik

By Mamer Abraham

National Minister for Wildlife Conservation and Tourism links possession of illegal firearms as obstacle to success of wildlife conservation and tourism.

Rizik Hassan Zecharia said the ministry struggles to conserve wildlife due to lack of civil population disarmament, urging citizen cooperation to ensure poaching is halted.

“Also, bearing in mind the rampant guns in the hands of our populations, we cannot manage conservation with a lot of arms in the hands of the population,” the minister said.

Speaking before the national parliament during hearing of the wildlife and tourism policy amendment bill 2023, the minister said that illegal arms must be controlled.

“Unless we need massively to join hands because tourism is a cross-cutting issue, we are reflecting on the exposures to the welfare of the country. That means it needs a lot of joining hands and contributions from everybody here in the country,” he noted.

He decried lack of support for the anti-poaching activities because the three pickups they had been using were not enough.

“Imagine, seasonally, we have anti-poaching operations. This year, we have been relying only on three pickups, which we do send to Jonglei areas; we send them to Eastern Equatoria; and we send them to the various operational areas. To the various hotspots. That is one of the challenges,” he underlined.

House Speaker, Rt. Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba, said the house had reached an agreement to adopt the wildlife and tourism bill with all the recommendations that were made.

“We have already agreed to adopt this bill. I mean this report with all the recommendations that they have made to the tourism policy document,” Nunu said.

Early this month, Rizik stated that the ministry would generate enough revenue from the tourism sector, confiding that tourism would relieve the country’s economic crisis.

“We have many steep challenges, which are about the infrastructure, the roads, and accommodation. But we are doing this projection in the scenario that, in the near future, we may be in a position to develop that infrastructure,” said Rizik.

According to his projection, the country would scoop a staggering $5 million in annual income if each of the estimated 500,000 annual national tourists paid $10 each.

“We are projecting that for the domestic tourists to enjoy the migration as we put it there, the public financial management requires each tourist to pay $10 or equivalent in South Sudanese pounds,” he suggested.

He further estimated that the country would receive about $75 million annually from international tourists.

“We are expecting them to come in large numbers. We are doing the average scenario of 700,000. Then that will end up with around 75 million US dollars in annual visitors to the migration.”

Rizik added that the country was planning to establish six national parks and 12 game reserves. According to UNDP, South Sudan has officially established six national parks and 13 game reserves.

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