11 January 2013

Tanzania: Omani Consortium to Invest Sh160 Billion in ATCL

AIR Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) is to receive an investment of 100 million US dollars (about 160bn/-) from an Omani investment consortium.

The funds are expected to go a long way towards the ailing national career's revival plans. The Chairman of Al Hayat Development and investment company, Sheikh SalimAl Harthy, said in a statement that he believes in economic collaboration between Tanzania and Oman.

"As part of this commitment, we (Omani Consortium) intend to sign an agreement with Air Tanzania to invest 100 million dollars and lead a consortium of other investors that we have close relations with," he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two partners, ATCL and the Omani investment consortium, would be signed by the end of next week. He said the plan is to build an airline training centre, good offices for the ATCL, buy planes and engage in other development activities which they plan to start within six to ten months this year.

The ATCL Acting Chief Executive Officer, Captain Milton Lazaro, has welcomed the development as good news that is likely to see the airline "stand on its feet once again". Captain Lazaro said his company had already held initial talks with the imminent investors, who have expressed their readiness to put money in the organization.

He said President Jakaya Kikwete had outlined to them the areas that need investment and with such money, they were ready to expand the company. He said the MoU would elaborate the extent of investment and in which areas the money would go.

"That is an amount of money which can change the company. We believe with this, we will be back on our feet," he said. President Kikwete visited Oman in October last year following an invitation of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.

He was accompanied by a high-ranking delegation of ministers and business leaders where they exchanged views on bilateral relations and explored the scope for strengthening further bilateral co-operation in business, education, culture and many other areas.

The Omani Consortium noted that Tanzania is the home to some of the World's most attractive tourist destinations and that in recent years there has been an increase in the number of Omani visitors travelling to Tanzania. This has been catalyzed by the resumption of direct flights to Tanzania by Oman Air.

"This has been a building factor in consolidating trade and cultural ties between the two countries. "Tanzania, the largest of the East African nations with geography as varied as in its spectacular, also holds out promising prospects for investment in its tourism sector," it noted.

With its years of glory behind it, ATCL is looking out for opportunities to get a pie of the thriving airlines business with the recent move being resumption of the Dar es Salaam-Kigoma daily flights after the services were suspended awaiting renovation of the Kigoma Airport and renovation of its aircraft that broke down last year.

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