Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: TAA Vows to Intensify Drug Trafficking Fight

TANZANIA Airports Authority (TAA) is taking President Jakaya Kikwete's recent remarks on drug trafficking seriously, saying they will fight tooth and nail to end the malady.

"The issue of security at airports is not as bad as most of us think, but the president questioned whether it will be sustainable and safe all the time," said TAA Director General, Mr Suleiman Suleiman.

Mr Suleiman said Mr Kikwete wishes that airports continue to be safe, requesting TAA to continue improving security by checking drug trafficking.

TAA Director General was speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam who attended the inauguration of the 5th TAA Workers' Council which will operate for the next three years.

"In fact, we need to improve security at our airports and ensure that the move will be sustainable through employees, airport security lights and follow advice from the Head of State," said Mr Suleiman.

He noted that most airports in the next five years will have tarmac with ability to accommodate flights 24 hours.

So far according to TAA boss, eight airports have been built to tarmac level including Bukoba, Tabora, Kigoma, Mpanda, Mafia, Mwanza, Songwe and Kilimanjaro.

"The authority has also announced tender for other two airports, Shinyanga and Sumbawanga which are also to be built to tarmac level, while other eleven airports are under feasibility study.

Recently, the president issued a stern warning to airport authorities to fortify security to curb drug trafficking, particularly at the country's major international airports.

Mr Kikwete laid a foundation stone for the construction of the 518bn/- Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) Terminal Three in Dar es Salaam, which is expected to significantly boost the number of passengers at the country's major air gateway.

The Head of State said he will not hesitate to take action on police, airport and immigration officials who will be found to collude with drug traffickers at the airports, noting that the vice was tarnishing the image of the country before the international community.

"Security systems at the JNIA and Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) must be beefed-up as drug trafficking through the airports is painting a bad image for the country," President Kikwete said during the occasion.

Seemingly upset, Mr Kikwete challenged TAA to make security its top priority since the new terminal will significantly increase the number of passengers through the airport.

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