China injects $39m into TAZARA operations

Communication and Transport Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa

THE Chinese government has given the financially crippled Tanzania-Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) US$39 million interest-free loan to revive its operations, Communication and Transport Minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa has said. Professor Lungwangwa said part of the funds, apart from reviving operations, would be for the procurement of six new locomotive engines, four wagons and the repairing of 120 wagons.

In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Prof Lungwangwa explained that the decision to fund TAZARA was arrived at during a meeting which was held in China last month at which Zambia and Tanzania signed the 14th protocol with the Chinese government to provide US$39 million interest-free loan.

Prof Lungwangwa said the funds would also be used to repair the railway line and the purchase of new equipment for the workshop aimed at bringing about efficiency in the company’s operations. “I can confirm that the Chinese government has provided us with US$39 million loan and we will not pay any interest. This is good news for us and we will work towards improving the operations of the company,” he said.

The minister said since the country’s economy was growing, it would require a reliable railway line to match with the increased production of copper and agricultural activities in various parts of Zambia. He paid tribute to the Chinese Government for the support to Zambia’s various development programmes and TAZARA in particular and that the loan would help the company operate effectively.
He said a team of experts from China would soon be dispatched to work with the TAZARA management to evaluate its viability and to carry out a comprehensive study on how it could link other countries through the railway network.

Prof Lungwangwa reiterated his Government’s commitment to contributing to the development of the country through infrastructure development, among others. Last month Zambia, Tanzania and the Chinese governments met in China to discuss the possible funding of TAZARA.

Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Qiangmin said he was confident the negotiating teams would reach a conclusion and reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting Zambian programmes aimed at contributing to the economy. Mr Li said the financing of TAZARA was a clear testimony of the good bilateral relations that his country and Zambia have enjoyed over the years, which have continued to grow.

President Rupiah Banda and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete had earlier appealed to creditors to cancel TAZARA debts to rescue the railway firm from collapse. The two leaders further called on the board of directors to expedite the process of concessioning management and operations of the railway company to a competent railway enterprise from China.

The railway line, built in the early 1970s through the assistance of the People’s Republic of China, is seen as the icon of friendship between the three partner States, China, Tanzania and Zambia. The railway also facilitated the opening of trade links between Tanzania and other landlocked neighbouring countries.

[Times of Zambia]

8 Comments

  1. 1 flag Zedan33

    Tazara already owes the chinese govt US$500m. Non payment of this loan was attributed to poor management. I hope the minister has changed the management of Tazara to ensure that at least the US$39m is paid back. I doubt its even an interest free loan, I’m sure its inbuilt in the US$39m

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  2. 2 flag I Witness

    “….apart from reviving operations, would be for the procurement of six new locomotive engines, four wagons and the repairing of 120 wagons and US$9m will be for me and my family”

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  3. 3 flag Positivist pa Zed

    Good news, but there is nothing free. Maybe chinese cargo will have to be given priority. I agree there is need to improve management. Anyway this is positive news

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  4. 4 flag UK-Zed Observer

    How did Tazara end up in this position. Why did the Zambian and Tanzanian govts and managers of Tazara allow the company to deteriorate so much. It is shameful. $39m is not a lot of money given the dire state of Tazara.

    We really must be ashamed of ourselves, we seem to ruin everything. Cant we surely manage something properly. Unless we improve even this $39m will amount to nothing because the problem is not financial, but management of assets and business management. Both Govts and Tazara management have failed lamentably all these years. Money cant solve everything.

    If you give money to a ****, he will simply become more foolish. But give it to a wise man, he will prosper. The difference is in the head – the grey matter between the ears. Plus wisdom.

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  5. 5 flag awob

    I bet the equipment will be bought from China.

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    1. 5.1 flag Oliver

      2012 Fashion ideas h Coming home from very lonely palces, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen .

      vote
  6. 6 flag Digga

    Wondering why not spend half of the $64m (K290b) RB intends to spend on that pointless road that passes by his farm to the game park, on repaying some of the $500m loan and then use the otehr half $32m for revamping TAZARA operations including sweeping Mgt changes.

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  7. 7 flag Mwanawakwitu

    UK-Observer, there is nothing really wrong with us. From your comment it would be an honour for myself to work as your assistant vice president, or for you to be the CEO of my corporation. Zambians not all but a good number are Lazy, then there are the bootlickers and procrastinators. If we could put the wise ones with operational gray matter all would be well. Also ones love for alcohol should be a deciding factor on promotion in Zambia; the more sober the faster your promotion catch my drift.

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