The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has made an undertaking to pay $4 million monthly to foreign airlines who were currently owed $150 million, NewsDay has established.
Foreign airlines flying into the country have not been able to repatriate ticket sales due to the acute shortage of United States dollars, and were cumulatively owed $150 million.
Some had threatened to pull out of the country, prompting Tourism and Environment minister Priscah Mupfumira to meet with Treasury at the weekend for a solution.
The meeting was attended by central bank governor John Mangudya, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, representatives from airlines, officials from the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe, Safari Operators and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.
“We negotiated and came to an agreement on a payment plan. Airlines welcome the move as this will allay any fears from us as airline operators,” Winnie Muchanyuka, the Board of Airlines president said, adding that the meeting was long overdue.
“We are very confident that as soon as the payment plan sets in, we can continue with service delivery without any hindrances.”
Safari Operators of Zimbabwe president Emmanuel Fundira said the development was positive for the tourism sector as it would inspire confidence among stakeholders.
Zimbabwe’s failure to repatriate revenue from ticket sales to Kenyan Airways prompted a visit last month by the airline’s chief executive officer, Sebastian Mikosz, who met Mangudya over blocked funds.
Other countries whose debts exceed that of Zimbabwe are Venezuela which owes $3,78 billion, Angola at $386 million and Sudan with $170 million while Bangladesh owes $95 million, according to International Air Transport Association.