Dar es Salaam. When the CAG Charles Kichere presented his report at State House towards the end of March, one of the loss-making companies that came to the forefront was Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), now it has emerged that the carrier has incurred losses worth Sh150 billion in the past 5 years.
Speaking in Dodoma today the CAG Charles Kichere said ATCL flights traveling abroad run the risk of being impounded because of the huge debts and the related interests
Kichere said they have identified the challenges that need to be addressed by the Government to improve performance in the national carrier.
"I noticed the board of directors does not have a single member with experience in aviation matters."
"During the pandemic, many aircraft were parked but ATCL was paying rental fees regardless of whether the aircrafts were not operating due to the Covid 19 challenge. This was due to the lease agreement between Tanzania Government Flights Agency and ATCL. ‘There was no clause in the agreement that says when the aircraft is not functioning we should not pay ' . ”
He said between March and June 2020, ATCL was charged Sh15.4 billion for aircraft rental while they were not providing services and the agency also inherited huge debts with interest.
“For five years the carrier was charged Sh45 billion whereas in the financial year 2019/20 it was charged interest of Sh12.4 billion.”
According to Kichere there is also the challenge of airports making ATCL aircrafts unable to fly at night.
"And some airports cannot land when carrying passengers to their full capacity, for example, Dodoma Airbus cannot land with 162 passengers because the capacity of the airport to withstand the plane landing with that number of passengers on board," he said.
He added: "We conducted an operational audit of ATCL and identified the following, by June 30 the Government had purchased eight aircraft for Sh1.2 trillion in an effort to revive the airline."
"The aircrafts are owned by the Government Airlines and ATCL is leasing them. In addition to purchasing the aircraft for five years 2015/2020 the Government has also provided Sh153 billion for operational and development activities."