The latest audit report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) released in Dodoma on Thursday shows that the government had until June 2020 used up 1.028trn/- on purchasing eight aircraft it then handed on credit to ATCL.
However, CAG Charles Kichere said the national carrier had recorded a cumulative loss of 153.542bn/- in the past five years with a 60.246bn/- loss suffered in the 2019/20 financial year alone.
Reacting to the report in an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Prof Samuel Wangwe, a leading researcher, said the government must now go back to the drawing board to see what should be done with ATCL.
“And this time we should consider involving the private sector. For example, we can merge Precision Air and ATCL,” he said.
“This can make a big change because it will bring practical experience that ATCL lacks. We should stop cheap politics on business matters. Public-private partnership has worked in many other places,” the veteran policy adviser intoned.
He said the president can form a team of experts on aviation to advice on the way forward, noting that the government can use capacity within the private sector to make the airline profitable,
Prof Haji Semboja, formerly lead researcher with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) sympathized with the national carrier, saying the losses were largely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic as is with many other airlines.
Still he advised that some things must be looked at before embarking on reviving an airline. “If things go the same the way we are going, we won’t go far. This is a problem that we need to address because ATCL must operate as a corporate body and not the way we are going. We need to know that this is a global business and that it has standards to follow,” he asserted.
“Making losses is not something accidental. It is something that has been prepared because we were wrong in the first place with our plan to revive it.”
Prof Honest Ngowi of the Dar es Salaam Business School of Mzumbe University said the revelation that the company had board members who have no experience in aviation was shocking.
“There is need for the new government to shake-up the board to initiate deliberate efforts to save the national carrier from collapsing, which is also tricky,” he affirmed.
Human rights activist Onesmo ole Ngurumwa said in order to change the situation at ATCL, the president should form a team of experts from within the aviation industry preferably with local and foreign experts.
“The government needs help on this. It must seek help from people who have the know-how,” he emphasised.