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Tanzania government targets hotels connected with illegal drugs

The government of Tanzania has listed and targeted a number of tourist hotels in the country’s leading commercial capital, pinpointing their owners, saying they are well connected with illicit drugs

The government of Tanzania has listed and targeted a number of tourist hotels in the country’s leading commercial capital, pinpointing their owners, saying they are well connected with illicit drugs and narcotics barons, also harboring drug abusers, dealers, and pushers in the hotels.

Tourist hotels and several tourist recreational facilities in Tanzania’s commercial city of Dar es Salaam are in the spotlight, accused of working closely and in connection with illicit drugs and narcotics dealers.

Dar es Salaam’s Regional Commissioner, or the Governor of the city, of more than four-million people, Mr. Paul Makonda, said he had a list of 67 hotels and 20 recreational clubs which are well connected with illicit drugs and narcotics dealings.

A section of tourist hotel and recreational facility owners have been summoned and interrogated by the police while their facilities were thoroughly searched in a hunt-out program to apprehend illicit drug contrabands.

Brandished with heavy weapons, a big contingent of police officers in open vehicles were seen patrolling key streets in the metropolis, hunting for drug dealers who had put Tanzania on top among world nations leading with illicit drug dealings.

Mr. Makonda said Tanzania is a transit route for illicit drugs from Europe, the United States, South Africa, and Asia.

Coupled with an anti-drugs war, political volatility, and poor business performance, tourist hotels are facing hard-going in services, after the Tanzanian government restricted public seminars and meetings in privately-owned conference rooms.

Soon after taking the office in November last year, Tanzanian President, Dr. John Magufuli, ordered all government department and public agencies to stop using privately-owned hotels and other hospitality establishments for conferences and meetings in his political cost-cutting measures.

With a total workforce of about 400,000 employees, hotels in Tanzania are braving to match with cost-cutting program which had restricted government agencies to book conferences and accommodation services in private hotels.

It is estimated that 3,500 hotel workers across Tanzania have lost their jobs since January of last year. Together with the introduction of Added Value Tax (VAT) on tourist services, tourism is facing a hard going with a possible reduction of visitors to Tanzania this year.

Several medium-sized hotels have switched to student hostels. Key hotels in the beach and historical town of Bagamoyo, about 65 kilometers north of Dar es Salaam has signaled loss making in tourist accommodation services.

Political volatility, a war on illicit drugs, and a possible famine outbreak this year are the leading agenda in Tanzania’s leading media outlets, while economic development issues are of little importance among the Tanzanian public.