Tourism PS says investor at Ngorongoro Lodge goes to court

22Oct 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Tourism PS says investor at Ngorongoro Lodge goes to court

MAURITIUS based Hotels and Lodges Limited has gone to High Court in Arusha seeking an injunction to block Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority from repossessing Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge due to failure to implement privatization benchmarks.

Part of Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge in Arusha.

Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Allan Kijazi said over the phone this week that his office has failed to intervene in the dispute because HLL has filed a court case.

“So far that the matter is in court, I cannot say anything,” Dr Kijazi said noting that the issue will now be sorted by the judicial system. A fortnight ago, the PS had promised to follow up on the issue and later make a public announcement.

“Let me get details and I will come back to you,” Dr Kijazi said earlier this month when the conflict erupted following NCAA management’s decision to forcefully evict the investor who is accused of failing to invest cash as agreed during privatization in 2004.

The NCAA’s decision follows allegations that HLL had in recent days failed to operate the luxury lodge inside Ngorongoro Crater which hosts high profile visitors. “Our staff and management were forcefully evicted by NCAA game wardens without any notice last week contrary to the privatization agreement signed with Parastatal Sector Reform Commission,” said one of the lodge’s employees.

When contacted earlier this week, NCAA Director General, Dr Frank Manongi said he was out of office. In 2004 when HLL was leased Tanzania Hotels Investments’ Seronera Wildlife Lodge, Lobo Wildlife Lodge and Lake Manyara Lodge, the investor had pledged to spend U$20 million in upgrading and modernizing them.

HLL paid U$28 million to PSRC to acquire the state owned lodges located in the Northern tourist enclave including Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Treasury Registrar’s spokesperson Erick Mkuti recently said an audit exercise of all privatised enterprises was under way to establish those that have failed to implement agreed benchmarks for possible repossession.

“We will know the fate of the Tahi properties once the audit exercise is done,” Mkuti said while pointing out that the TR’s office has not received any complaints relating to HLL and its properties.

President Samia has ordered her lieutenants to refrain from harassing private investors and instead be facilitators of projects because the country needs to attract foreign capital to speed up economic growth and development projects.

“Let us be facilitators of foreign investments, my government has decided to re-engage with the international community,” President Samia said when she swore-in her cabinet earlier this year. She has often repeated her statement saying her government needs to be ‘predictable.’

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