Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Communiqué issued by the Ministry of Communications and Transport of the United Republic of Tanzania



  Recently the British Government granted a licence to the British Aerospace (BAe) for the sale of sophisticated modern radar to Tanzania a subject which sparked off a hot debate within and outside the country. Both local and foreign press have been pouring scorn on the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for its decision to spend nearly 28 million British pounds on the purchase of the radar equipment. The ongoing debate is based on the following arguments.

    (i)  The rationale of a poor country like Tanzania to spend a staggering amount of money on something which they claim will not benefit the nation at all.

    (ii)  The radar equipment to be ordered is too expensive and too sophisticated for Tanzania's present needs.

    (iii)  There are fears of dubious transactions in the deal which could embrace corruption.

    (iv)  Some senior officials in financial institutions have claimed that the system of the radar equipment being ordered is special for military operations and not for civil aviation purposes.

  In view of the ensuing debate, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to give the following information to the public on the whole issue of radar.


  2.1  Tanzania, like any other poor or rich country in the world, needs to have a special equipment for its air space surveillance and air traffic control. This facility is known as radar. The main function of radar is to enable the departments of Air Defence and Civil Aviation to detect aircraft flying the Tanzanian air space with a view to strengthening defence and controlling the aircraft movement in order to avoid air accidents.

  In Tanzania, for instance, there are peak periods during the month or day when the country's air space becomes congested with aircraft—big and small—thus making their control difficult, a situation which causes air movement delays and suspicion that our air space is not safe.

  2.2  At present the radars we have in the country are either outdated or do not function at all and, therefore, cannot meet the demands of air safety control. The monitoring of aircraft movement within the country's airspace is done by the air traffic controllers at the airports who communicate with the pilots on various aspects of aviation such as take-off, landing, speed and locations of aircraft in the air. This is a very cumbersome job which depends heavily on the honesty of the pilots. Hence:

    (a)  The likelihood of air accidents happening is obvious because the Civil Aviation department depends, to a great extent, on the efficiency of its air traffic controllers and the radio communication they use to get in touch with the pilots. This radio communication does not function well in bad weather and, therefore, is not permanently reliable.

    (b)  There is also a probability of some aircraft entering Tanzania's air space illegally and free of charge.

    (c)  The most important thing, however, is to maintain peace and security in our country and to save people's lives by avoiding accidents.

  2.3  Besides our air space, Tanzania also controls air spaces of Rwanda and Burundi for the aircraft flying at the altitude of more than 24,500 feet. This responsibility was entrusted to Tanzania by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in 1978. Before that, this job over Rwanda and Burundi was under the auspices of the former East African Community. Furthermore, on the eastern side of the continent, Tanzania supervises the Indian Ocean air space between the coastline and Longitude 44 degrees and between Latitude 5 degrees South and latitude 11 degrees South.


  3.1  There are two options for Tanzania to strengthen safety and security of her air space. The first one is to let the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) and the Civil Aviation Department to buy their own radar's each.

  3.2  The second option is to have a joint system incorporating the military and civil equipment which will function simultaneously and instantly.

  3.3  The Government has been working on the radar since 1987 after the breakdown in 1990 of the radars installed at the Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airports. Following these breakdowns, the Government, on 5 August, 1992, appointed a committee of experts to do a research with a view to establishing a radar system that would meet the country's requirements.

  3.4  The committee of experts suggested to the Government the purchase of a joint radar system, which, according to their findings was in use in other countries in Africa and elsewhere, and it has proved more successful. Its operational costs are also lower compared with the former system of individual radars for each department.

  3.5  Following recommendations of the committee in October/November, 1992, the Government floated tenders through shortlisting (selective bidding) and asked interested parties to send their offers based on the following:

    (a)  The capacity of the bidding company in manufacturing the needed equipment.

    (b)  The price of the equipment.

    (c)  Service after the purchase.

    (d)  The procedure of getting funds for the purchase of the equipment.

    (e)  Equipment which will serve both military and civil operations.

    (f)  All bidders must ensure that the manufactured equipment conforms with the requirements as stipulated in the regulations and procedures of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

  3.6  Eight international companies were invited to present their bids:

    (a)  Marconi Radar System of the UK

    (b)  Thomson CSF of France

    (c)  Westinghouse of USA

    (d)  Siemens Plessey (now known as British Aerospace, BAe of the UK (SPS)

        One Canadian company, Raytheon, delivered its offer after the deadline had passed. Their offer was not accepted.


  4.1  after a thorough scrutiny by experts SPS was picked as a winning bidder, after having fulfilled all the requirements. Its radars known as Watchman and COMMANDER RADAR were recommended for purchase.

  4.2  In July 1993, SPS submitted officially its whole programme of manufacturing the equipment and purchase procedures.

  4.3  After going through the SPS recommendations, the Government, in November 1993, informed the British company of its acceptance of the recommended equipment and the procedures to follow.


  5.1  After lengthy discussions, in June 1994 the Government and SPS agreed on the logistics for acquiring the equipment. The initial estimated costs for the equipment as prepared by the committee of experts amounted to US$88 million.

  5.2  On 11 February 1995 the Government decided in principle on the project implementation after discussing and taking note of the report of the committee of experts. The Treasury and the Central Bank confirmed that the terms of the project were not against the conditionalities of the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facilities and Policy Framework Paper (ESAF/PFP) agreed upon between the Government and the international Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).

  5.3  After further considerations regarding the high costs of the project, the Government of the Third Phase in 1996 decided to revisit the project and came to the conclusion that it should be implemented in phases and directed that amendments be made in the structure of finance package.

  5.4  On March, 1997 the Government directed the authorities concerned with the project to put final touches to the project taking in to consideration the question of reducing the costs of the project.

  5.5  In September, 1997 the Government came to an agreement with SPS regarding the list of components to be included in the radar system. It was also agreed that the value of the project in the Sales Agreement be inclusive of equipment maintenance contract, training, spare parts and wages for expatriates.

  5.6  In accordance with the initial report of the chief negotiator who supported Tanzania's plan of purchasing a modern radar, a Tanzanian delegation left for England on 16-17 October, 1997 for talks with Barclays Bank regarding a loan agreement. According to the contract Barclays Bank agreed to provide a soft loan. The loan was in line with the conditionalities set by IMF/WB to Tanzania. The loan issue was also included in the discussions of the Government with the Financial institutions of IMF/WB regarding our country's ability to pay its debts and debt sustainability analysis. To date the Government of Tanzania has already made an initial payment of US$5.4 million. The initial payment was needed in order for the company to start manufacturing the equipment because such type of equipment is not found off the shelf. This kind of equipment is specifically manufactured in accordance with the client's specifications after signing a contract.


  6.1  In an effort to comply with the terms of the donors and international financial institutions, the Government of Tanzania agreed with the recommendations of the World Bank of the appointing of an aviation expert to investigate the decision of the Government of Tanzania to purchase a radar.

  6.2  The World Bank appointed an aviation expert from TECN-ECON of England to undertake the assignment. During his investigation the expert held talks with aviation experts in the country. In his report, the expert supported the plan and insisted on the importance of the decision of the Government of Tanzania of purchasing a radar.

  6.3  In order to have a second opinion regarding the project, the World Bank appointed a second expert from a group of companies of Aerotech of the United States of America to undertake another investigation. The approach used by this second expert differed from the first expert in that the second expert did not hold any talks with Tanzanian experts on our aviation requirements. Apart from this, the expert, in his report, mentioned nothing as to whether Tanzania should go ahead with the planned project or not recommending instead that Tanzania should buy another type of radar from the United States of America instead of England. Because of the anomalies contained in the report of the second expert, the Government of Tanzania decided to go ahead with its plan to acquire a radar that would suit our requirements.


  The completion of implementing this project will enable Tanzania to have the following benefits:

  7.1  To detect and identify the number of aircrafts using Tanzania air space.

  7.2  To minimise the possibility of aircrafts over fly the Tanzanian airspace illegally.

  7.3  To control poaching and illegal trade by using private aircrafts and air strips.

  7.4  To identify and control civilian aircraft efficiently and hence minimising aircraft accidents in the country.

  7.5  The absence of a modern radar denies Tanzania an opportunity of increasing income by charging fees which currently is US$7 million charged on about 114,404 aircraft which use Tanzanian airspace annually. It is obvious that our income will increase because of the radar's ability to detect more aircraft flying in our air space.

  7.6  To win the confidence air travelers including businessmen and tourists and thus attract more travellers to fly to Tanzania a move that will generate more income for the nation. At the moment many aircraft companies hesitate to fly to Tanzania because of the lack of aviation facilities.

  7.7  Most importantly, this project will assist us strengthen safety and security of our nation.


  8.1  There have been many and different views that have been expressed with regard to the radar project. Those opposing the project have it that instead of purchasing the radar the Government should spend the money in improving social services such as water, health and education. It is true that Tanzania is a poor country. The people of Tanzania need water, hospitals and schools. This situation is being dealt with and will continue to be tackled by the Government of Tanzania.

  8.2  But it is also important to take note that besides clean and safe water, schools and health services, the people of Tanzania have the right to be assured of security and safety of their nation enabling them to take part in activities that are related to their own development and that of their nation.

  8.3  There is another school of thought which has it that Tanzania can purchase a radar for civil aviation at a cheaper rate from any other company in the world. This issue of having a radar meant only for civil aviation has been discussed a great deal. However cost analysis on the different types of radars which deal with safety and security requirements have proved that Tanzania would have to spend more money if it had opted to purchase a type of radar with separate systems, one for air navigation purpose, while the other for security purposes. That's why the Government has decided to purchase a radar with a system that can incorporate the military and civil requirements simultaneously. We wish to emphasise that in dealing with air space security one cannot differentiate between civilian system and national defence system. It is an open secret that the background of radar technology is a result of a discovery in the use of the equipment in military operations and defence in the world. It is important to understand that radar for the navigation of civilian aircraft is a component part of the system to be purchased. This kind of civilian radar is used to navigate aircraft when it is about to land at an airport. It is obvious therefore these kind of civilian radars are not adequate in meeting our intended objectives as mentioned earlier.

  8.4  Now that a long time has passed since the issue of purchasing a radar had begun, the type of radar that we will acquire will be of the latest technology of WATCHMAN AND COMMANDER RADAR. WATCHMAN radars became operational since 1984. Since then more than 100 of them have been sold. In England alone about 15 radars have been installed at different airports including London Heathrow and Gatwick. Other countries which are operating WATCHMAN radars are Bahrain, China, Dubai, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, United States and Zimbabwe. The radar system that has been proposed has the ability to detect aircraft, altitude and location. Given proper maintenance, this type of radar can last for more than 20 years. It is obvious that during its life span costs of the project will be recovered and we will have additional income.

  8.5  The application of the latest technology allows for the possibility of the proposed equipment to make use of the new ICAO system known as ``S-mode data link system''. The equipment to be used have been designed to be inline with ICAO recommendations of being connected to satellite facilities without major renovations.

  8.6  Tanzania needs to purchase a modern radar in order to strengthen safety of civilian aviation and security of our nation. And this is what others have done. They have acquired state-of-the-art radars to meet defence requirements of their nations and safety for civil aviation. To ignore the existing poor state of aviation may result in the likelihood of a major aviation accident in our sky. The costs for compensation and insurance claims from such an accident will surely be more exorbitant than the costs of the radar project.

  8.7  Many complaints from international airlines flying over the African Continent arise from the fact that an aircraft can be given permission by one authority to fly on one route at a given height from the ground while another aircraft or aircrafts have been issued permission by other authorities to fly on the same routes because of the absence of a radar. Many times this problem had resulted in near mid-air collisions. But this has not happened because of the keenness and competence of pilots. Pilots also complain that the amount of work they do while in the African skies is 15 times more difficult than when they are in the skies of the Atlantic where there are many more aircraft. This is a consequence of having navigation systems.

  8.8  The Government of Tanzania is pleased by the decision of the British Government to issue a licence to the British Aerospace (BAe) Systems Company to sell us a radar. Tanzania is grateful to the British Government for the decision. It is the right decision given at the right time.

  8.9  The obligation of strengthening the defence and safety of our airspace and the defence and safety of our country at large will always be the duty of the Government and the People of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Ministry of Communication and Transport

Dar es Salaam

21 January 2002

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