KILIMANJARO: WHILE Tanzanians continue to celebrate the New Year 2024, the porters here celebrate the New Year with additional thing, this is none other than the increase in their wages for serving the tourists who climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Moshi, as well as Mount Meru in Arusha.
The long-term struggle by the porters, who help tourists carry their gear while hiking mountains, to get their wages increase has paid off.
Their payments will now increase from the current 10 US dollars a to 15 US dollars a day.
A move to raise the porters’ wages has been described as catalyst that will improve hospitality services for mountain climbers and therefore increase the number of tourists in the country because they will be satisfied with the good services and later on be good ambassador when return to their countries.
The good news of their payment rise was revealed recently by Executive Secretary of the Tanzania Porters Organisation (TPO) Mr Loishiye Mollel, in a special meeting which was meant to inform porters on the good developments as far as their payments were concerned.
“For a long time, we were seeking pay rise, the government heard our cry whereby its officials sat down with the relevant authorities and tourism stakeholders. They resolved to increase our payments from US dollars 10 per day to US dollars 15 per day”, he said, amid cheers from the participants of the meeting.
He added, “We thank the Government for facilitating the wages’ increase; our plea to those who get our services that they should respect the decisions so that porters can work in a better environment and therefore enhance the nation’s socio-economic growth through the tourism sector.”
Speaking during the occasion, the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO)’s Executive Secretary Mr Sirili Akko, said in implementing the agreement, the relevant parties agreed that all the porters will be paid through their bank accounts after providing their respective Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).
“We are ready to implement the agreement, but all payments must be made through the porters’ Bank accounts or electronically; this will help the porters to get their payments without complains as well as identifying porters who undermine their colleagues by accepting low payments; it will also help identify the tour operators who will not be paying the porters they hire the acceptable rates,” he said.
The representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism during the meeting, Mr Alexander Lemunge said that, the government will continue to ensure porters get their rights due to their importance in the tourism sector.
He urged the tour operators to implement the new agreements without hesitation for the betterment of the tourism sector.
“If there will be challenge that will occur during the implementation of the new agreement, it will be better to report that challenge to relevant authorities so that it can be addressed immediately, instead of waiting for the challenge to create another misunderstanding,” he added.
For his part, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) representative Mr Odupoi Papaa asked the porters to make sure they get their TIN numbers so that they can get payments as per the new agreements.
“TIN numbers are provided free of charge; what you need to do is only to visit the nearby TRA office; you can even get it where you are, just inform us where you are and our officials will come and provide you with your TIN number,” he said.