. . . Airbus refunds over 3bn/- to govt for late delivery of aircraft
PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday surprised Tanzanians when he announced that the manufacturer of the recently acquired two Airbus 220- 300 planes, Airbus Company, refunded 1.3 million US dollars (about 2.9bn/-) to the government for late delivery of one of the aircrafts.
The President disclosed the matter, proving to the public how his government was serious in accounting for its spending, hinting that if it were in the past regimes, such an amount of money could have been swindled and no one would have known or asked about it.
“When they delayed the delivery of our plane, Airbus Company promised to refund us 1.3 million US dollars. Having heard the news, I instructed officials from the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication to come back with the cheque,” President Magufuli disclosed.
He added: “If it were in the past regimes such money could have been pocketed by individuals in the government, provided the plane was delivered.” Understandably, the delivery of Airbus 220-300 has been delayed by some few weeks as it was supposed to arrive last November.
At the event, the Head of State revealed that he had issued instructions of branding into Air Tanzania colours, the two presidential jets Fokker 50 and Fokker 28, so that they can operate in the domestic routes.
“They will be flying to some of the local destinations like Iringa, Mtwara, Songea and Mpanda,” he said.
All this happens at a time when the country is expecting to receive one more Dreamliner and a Bombardier later this year, making a total of eight planes that have been bought by the government between 2015 and 2019.
This means that by the end of this year, Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) will have 10 planes, a move that will facilitate growth of economic activities and tourism sector.
President Magufuli used the occasion yesterday when he received the plane to promise Tanzanians that good times were coming ahead.
“This is just the beginning, good things are coming and I pledge to continue serving the country with all my skills, knowledge and ability,” said the Head of State at a well-attended event that was also broadcast live.
With the ongoing speed, Dr Magufuli expressed his optimism that the country might have even more than 100 planes in the next ten years, but warned the ATCL management to cut unnecessary expenditures to ensure the company makes profit.
He said sacrifice was inevitable if the aim is to have the company productive and that the government will never hesitate to repossess the planes if ATCL will not make profit out of it.
“This is government property not ATCL’s, so we need to see the profits otherwise we shall take back and lease to other company, this is possible and can happen at any time,” noted the President.
Earlier, the ATCL Chief Executive Officer Engineer Ladislaus Matindi said the company will start daily flights to Dodoma effectively from next week on Wednesday, January 16. Also the permits for Air Tanzania and plane to international airports will be ready by next Tuesday, January 15.
“The increase in number of planes will enable the company to improve our services and increase more routes including the one to Zimbabwe and Zambia,” he said.
According to him, right now the company has employed about 380 staffs including 102 cabin crews, over 50 pilots, 60 engineers and other staffs. At the event, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa challenged Air Tanzania staffs to work hard and ensure the company brings positive results to the national economy.
“Our President is determined to bring true development so we don’t have to let him down in any way, let’s be patriotic to our own country,” said the Premier, same note was issued by the Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania Ms Pamela O’Donnell.
Upon arrival, the second Airbus 220-300 that touched the land at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) at 15.05hrs, received a water salute before the Head of State inspected and inaugurated it.