Vandalism in Dar es Salaam has caused the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) losses of Tsh160 million (USD152,380) in the first three months of this year.

"This loss is specifically attributed to the districts of Kinondoni and Temeke in Dar es Salaam.

In the month of March, acts of vandalism on TTCL infrastructure resulted in the company losing Tsh50.3 million (USD47,904) in Kinondoni district alone, said a statement from TTCL.

"In the district of Kinondoni alone, more than 120 covers of TTCL interconnecting cables were stolen up to April this year. The cost for this alone is Tsh42 million (USD40,000), the statement said.

To deal with the problem,TTCL is enhancing security measures aimed at protecting infrastructure in different parts of the country, especially those areas hardest hit by vandals.

However, TTCL infrastructure is spread throughout the country and it is very difficult to protect everything considering the fact that most of these acts take place at night, the statement said.

The statement added that the loss declared also takes into account the cost of replacing the cables, "but this doesn't include the loss of revenue due to non-availability of services in the affected areas affected by vandalism or theft of TTCL furniture.

TTCL's statement comes barely two months after President Benjamin Mkapa decried vandalism of parastatal infrastructure, which he said was on the increase in the country.

Speaking during his monthly address to the nation, the president called on Tanzanians to guard public property.

To minimise vandalism in his district, the District Commissioner for Temeke, Baraka Konisaga, held meetings with district chairmen and ward executive officers where it was resolved that the leaders would guard against acts of vandalism in their respective areas.

"The meeting decided that all infrastructure belonging to TTCL, Tanzania-Zambia Mafuta (Tazama), Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara), Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) and City Water, be protected at all costs because any damage on them directly impacted on the respective communities in any given area, said Mr Konisaga.

However, the district commissioners needed the co-operation of the firms and companies in question. "We have requested the companies affected to make sure that their technicians or personnel doing routine maintenance or repairs in the field have proper identification to deter and catch impostors," said Mr Konisaga.