-TAZARA Managing Director Akashambatwa Mbikusita – Lewanika says his management has identified solutions to the problems affecting the smooth operations of TAZARA.
Mr . Akashambatwa-Lewanika says among the solutions identified is the procuring of new equipment and leasing of good condition equipment.
He said the purchasing of new equipment can only be done through recapitalization and soliciting of adequate working capital.
Mr . Akashambatwa-Lewanika said inadequate working capital has triggered a vicious cycle resulting in the company failing to operate effectively.
He further explained that unreliability of locomotives and wagons has contributed in the firm not performing to the vision of TAZARA.
He disclosed that due to the poor operations of TAZARA clients have opted to use other means of transport resulting in the firm losing out on clients.
However, Mr . Akashambatwa-Lewanika says TAZARA needs an immediate injection of 32 million United Sates dollars in the first phase.
He said the injecting of 32 million United Sates dollars in TAZARA will positively impact on its operations.
He said the soliciting of the working capital should not be left to the two shareholding government but rather the private sector should supplement the efforts of the two shareholding government.
The railway company co-owned by Tanzania and Zambia has been dogged by a number of operational challenges that has made authorities to find ways and means of saving the firm form collapse.
Mr . Akashambatwa-Lewanika recently stated that the firm would require US$4 billion to fully modernise the railway line and its operations.
The Company managing director said it would be costly to rebuild TAZARA, considering that a lot of money would be required to start afresh and that was the more reason the government was opting for rehabilitation.
"It is cheaper for us to rehabilitate the infrastructure other than having to start all-over again, because $4 billion will be required if we are to reconstruct TAZARA," Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said.
He said this in Lusaka shortly after a dinner which was hosted by Transport, Works and Supply Minister Christopher Yaluma in honor of his Tanzanian counterparts and graced by First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda.
He said the two governments wanted to pay more attention to TAZARA and bring it back to its original glorious state.
Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said money would have to come from either the governments or be opened up for private sector participation.
He said the platform for the way forward had been laid in that the TAZARA Act was being reviewed.
And Tanzanian Transport minister Harrison Mwakyembe, assured Zambians and Dr Kaunda that TAZARA would not collapse.
He said TAZARA was an important company to the two governments because of its historical background and they could not let the institution collapse.
Dr Mwakyembe said Tanzania and Zambia should come up with a plan to be implemented by the two governments on the rehabilitation of TAZARA and that was the reason they met yesterday.
He said TAZARA was faced with serious operational problems at present, considering that 90 per cent of the cargo had been shifted on the road instead of moving on the rail.
"People think that TAZARA will collapse, but I want to assure you Mzee (Old man), it will not collapse. We will take drastic measures because we cannot afford to let it collapse," Dr Mwakyembe said.