Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wildlife agency, Grumeti settle differences at last

Grumeti Reserves Ltd public relations manager

Grumeti Reserves Ltd public relations manager Ami Seki (right) hands over a dummy cheque worth Sh1.3 billion to Ikona Wildlife Management Area (WMA) chairman Elias Nchama in Serengeti District recently. It is a rental fee for conducting tourism activities in the area. PHOTO|ANTHONY MAYUNGA 

By Anthony Mayunga @TheCitizenTz nwes@tz.nationmedia.com

Serengeti. The Ikona Wildlife Management Area (WMA), in Serengeti District, Mara Region, has finally earned over Sh1.3 billion from Grumeti Reserves Company Ltd.

This is a rental fee for tourism activities that the company has been carrying out in the area for the past three years.

The fee includes accommodation (bed fee), photography and hunting activities, to mention but a few.

In the past two weeks, Ikona WMA and Grumeti were locked in negotiations in a bid to resolve a protracted dispute over the amount of payment the latter ought to remit to the agency since 2014. Negotiation meetings were convened and chaired by the Serengeti District Commissioner, Mr Nurdin Babu following the Ikona WMA’s decision to close the road to prevent tourists from entering or leaving the Grumeti area.

“We have paid all the arrears dating from 2014; thanks to the DC’s office for helping the negotiations go through. We have now reached an amicable solution, which we believe is a lasting solution,”said Grumeti Relations Manager, Mr Ami Seki.

Mr Seki said they reached agreement after marathon negotiation meetings that got underway on July 12.

He noted the decision taken by the Ikona WMA to allow other investors in the area was cause of the dispute between the two parties, leading to his firm’s decision to suspend the payments for the last three years.

The Ikona WMA Chairman, Mr Elias Nchama, thanked the DC for helping resolve the dispute, adding that the money would strengthen conservation activities in the area.

Mr Mchama said the money is enough to pay salaries and allowances of the guards.

For his part, the WMA Board Chairman, Mr Sospeter Nyigoti, said besides covering conservation activities costs, the money would be used to finance development projects in five villages that surround the conserved area.

He named the villages as Robanda, Nyichoka, Makundusi, Natta-Mbisso and Parknyigoti.

“Each village will earn a total of Sh136 million for development projects,” said Nyigoti.

Speaking on behalf of the DC, the Serengeti District Administrative Secretary, Mr Cosmas Qamara, directed both parties to respect the agreement.