Government watching Air Tanzania board closely

Tuesday December 07 2021
ATCL pic
By Alex Nelson Malanga

Dar es Salaam. Three days after the dissolution of the boards of directors of the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and the Shipping Corporation, Works and Transport minister Makame Mbarawa has said he is keeping a close watch on other institutions under his docket.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Saturday dissolved the TPA and Shipping Corporation boards by removing their chairpersons after she was dissatisfied with their performance.

The President also directed the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau to investigate the boards over what was going on at Dar es Salaam Port and take action against those responsible for financial losses mentioned in a special audit report.

Following the development, Prof Mbarawa issued tough directives to the Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) board of directors when he addressed it on Monday, December 6.

Launching the seven-member board, Prof Mbarawa directed it [the board] to push for aggressive marketing and ensuring that the airline’s monies are put to proper use.

He said ATCL was still at the investment stage hence the need to market it aggressively.

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Prof Mbarawa said come rain or come sunshine, the board should ensure the airline makes the maximum use of the 11 aircraft that the government has so far bought.

“The government has done its part. It is time for you to do yours for ATCL to excel in the airline business. We need to feel the value for money,” he directed.

He warned that he will fire those who would prove failure in fulfilling their duties.

Minister Mbarawa said it was high time the country shifted its focus from singing about purchasing new aircraft to making business out of the bought airplanes.

For the airline to win customers’ hearts, he said, the company must work on any form of customers’ grievances, which include flight delays.

He reminded them of what befell TPA and Shipping Corporation boards.

“The TPA board was good. But it failed because its chairman was sleeping on the job,” he unveiled. Adding: “I don’t want this to be the case with ATCL.”

Speaking earlier, the ATCL’s managing director and CEO Ladislaus Matindi reiterated his call to the government to consider doing something on the current aircraft structure, where the government owns aircraft and leases them to the airline.

With the current ownership structure, Mr Matindi said, ATCL was by default becoming inherent to the government’s debt.

“This plunges us into failure to expand our operation networks because of underutilisation of the fleet,” said Mr Matindi.

In another development, he promised to continue investing in both soft and hard infrastructure for ATCL to be competitive enough to compete in the domestic and global market.

The airline’s board chairperson, Prof Neema Mori, said they would do all in their power to ensure they shaped the airline through provision of quality, safe and reliable services.