THE Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) has constructed five helipads on top of Mt Kilimanjaro, courtesy of Tanzania Covid-19 Social-Economic Response and Recovery Plan (TCRP).
The landing and take-off areas for helicopters are part of the conservation agencies strategy of improving tourism services on Africa’s rooftop.
The helipads are part of TANAPA’s response and recovery plan, which has also seen it procuring dumping trucks, motor graders, chain excavators and compactors to the tune of a whopping 45.7bn/-, which will be channeled towards rehabilitating and maintaining road network inside its national parks.
“The organization has set sights in improving road networks in the protected areas to ensure that they become accessible throughout the year,” explained TANAPA Conservation Commissioner William Mwakilema yesterday, shortly before the commissioning dumping trucks, motor graders, chain excavators and compactors at Tarangire National Park.
According to Mr Mwakilema, the TCRP fund which the conservation agency received 51 per cent of the total 90.2bn/- allocated to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to keep the $2bn/- a year sector afloat, will also be used in rehabilitating road network at key national parks such as Serengeti, Tarangire, Mkomazi and Nyerere.
It will also see the construction of five heliports in Saadani, Tarangire and Nyerere National Parks, the Conservation Commissioner revealed.
“TANAPA also plans to put in place new Revenue Collection Centres and a visitor’s information center at Burugi-Chato,” he disclosed.
Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Pindi Chana on her part challenged the conservation agency to put the Covid-19 funds to good use.
She equally urged TANAPA to maintain a routine checkup of the heavy machinery it has procured.
“I do not expect to see any of these trucks grounded,” she said.
Dr Chana also directed TANAPA to ensure the trucks were installed with 24/7 Vehicle Speed tracking system.
In the same vein, the minister urged the organisation to equip its staff with the requisite training of maintaining the heavy machinery.
Authorities in the country are implementing a comprehensive response TCRP to mitigate the health and socioeconomic effects of the pandemic.
The macroeconomic outlook depends on its successful implementation, but downside risks remain.
TCRP encompasses the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan, an outline of the country’s agenda of vaccinating 20 per cent of the population with COVAX.
In September last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved 567.25 million US dollars (about 1.3tri/-) in emergency financial assistance, 189.08 million US dollars under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and a purchase equivalent to 378.17 million US dollars under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).
Such tools are said to support the authorities’ efforts in responding to the pandemic by addressing the urgent health, humanitarian and economic costs, according to the international financial body.