The governments of Tanzania and Zambia have revealed plans to pump $80 million into its jointly owned loss-making railway venture, Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) in the next twelve months.
Company spokesman, Conrad Simuchile said $9.2 million of the injected fund will be released immediately to cater for two months of outstanding employees’ salary arrears and some working capital.”
Some of the funds will also be used to buy fuels and lubricants for the trains.
The decision to inject millions of dollars into the company was made at the TAZARA Council of Ministers meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia.
TAZARA has been hit with frequent labour strikes owing to accrued unpaid salaries – the recent strike happened between May and June when employees in the Tanzanian region suspended their services. TAZARA said the strike caused it to lose at least $1.16 million in revenue.
The railway company has also suffered from months of low productivity and operational disruptions which was mainly as a result of under investment from the two shareholders.
The recent investment made by the two shareholders will therefore serve as a lifeline for the firm which has been suffering from decades of under-investment.
TAZARA acting Managing Director Ronald Phiri said the renewed commitment from the shareholders will take the company back to the levels of sustainability and stop its dependency on handouts from the two East African governments.
Zambia Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga is also confident that it is possible to turn around
TAZARA with commitment from all players, adding that “If we (stakeholders involved) are all committed, this company will be revived.”
According to him, “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.”
The TAZARA Railway is a 1,860 km single-track Chinese-built railway linking Tanzania’s main port of Dar es Salaam with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia’s Central Province. It is a key route for copper exports from Zambia and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo to the Dar es Salaam port.
Source: Ventures Africa
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