Dar es Salaam – Tuesday, 8 July 2014
The governments of Tanzania and Zambia, who are the two shareholders of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), have agreed to inject USD80.00 million into the operations of TAZARA in the next 12 months, of which USD9.20 million is to be disbursed immediately to cater for two months of the outstanding employees’ salary arrears and some working capital.
At a meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia, on Friday 4 July 2014, the TAZARA Council of Ministers, which is the highest policy organ of TAZARA, resolved to inject funds in the Authority following months of low productivity and operational disruptions due to various factors including frequent breakdowns, accidents, unstable labour atmosphere and lack of working capital to pay salaries and procure fuels and lubricants for the trains, all resulting in recurrent work stoppages.
Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, the Honourable Minister of Transport in Tanzania, Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe, who is the current Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, said the Tanzanian government was encouraged by the commitment of the Zambian government towards TAZARA.
“We are delighted and greatly encouraged by the unprecedented commitment and support shown by our Zambian partners towards TAZARA.
In line with the commitment shown by Zambia, I take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment as Tanzania and affirm that we are willing and ready to find resources in order to ensure that TAZARA’s operations are boosted to a level where we shall all be comfortable,” said Hon Mwakyembe.
Hon. Mwakyembe said that the two governments would not allow TAZARA to collapse.
And the his Zambian counterpart, the Minister of Transport for Zambia, Hon Yamfwa Mukanga said that he was confident that if every player in TAZARA was committed, it was very possible to turn around the Authority.
“We all must put in what we can so that this company is turned around. If we are all committed, this company will be turned around. We must find lasting solutions,” said Hon Mukanga.
The Zambian Minister further said that since the two governments were showing serious commitment by heavily investing resources in TAZARA, it would also be expected that management and employees would equally perform.
“Performance will no longer be an option and measures will be put in place to ensure that each and every position is monitored for performance so that those who are not performing are weeded out immediately,” said Hon. Mukanga.
Apart from the two Ministers of Transport from Tanzania and Zambia, the Council of Ministers was also attended by the Zambian Minister of Finance, Hon Alexander Chikwanda, the Tanzanian Deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. Adam Malima, the Zambian Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Hon Robert Sichinga and the two Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of Transport in Tanzania and Zambia, Dr. Shabaan Mwinjaka and Mr. Charles Sipanje, respectively as well as the Management of TAZARA.
More changes expected
The meeting of the TAZARA Board of Directors on Wednesday 2 July 2014 preceded the TAZARA Council of Ministers.
Meeting earlier, the Board, chaired by Dr. Mwinjaka, had resolved to submit a request for the two governments to recapitalise TAZARA sufficiently and also provide working capital in order to save the company from further deterioration.
The Board discussed various pertinent matters pertaining to the operations of TAZARA and resolved to make substantive changes in the manner TAZARA was being run.
These changes were expected to be announced and take effect within the next month when the Board would meet again to review the implementation plan that the Management was currently working on.
And following the outcome of the Council of Ministers meeting, the Acting Managing Director, Eng. Ronald Phiri has expressed hope that with the renewed commitment from the shareholders, TAZARA would soon go back to levels of sustainability and stop depending on handouts from the two governments.
Eng. Phiri said:
“We are delighted and convinced that once the funds from the shareholders are disbursed and the rehabilitation and procurement exercises are successfully executed, coupled with the smart partnerships we are currently working on, TAZARA will no longer be dependent on bailouts.
It is now a question of time before we go back to levels of sustainability and to a point of paying dividends to the shareholders.
We are being called upon to work extremely hard, end all the malpractices by dealing with the culprits firmly, improve operations to the satisfaction of our customers and win back everyone’s confidence. That we shall do.”
TANZANIA-ZAMBIA RAILWAY AUTHORITY
For any clarifications, please contact:
Conrad K Simuchile, Head Public Relations
TAZARA Head Office, Nyerere Road, P.O Box 2834, Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA
Mobile: +255783803074 Email: [email protected]