THE 61st Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) Council of Ministers meeting has resolved to immediately inject about US$25 million into the company to help revamp it.
The performance of Tazara has fallen to record low levels of less than 300,000 tonnes of freight per year in the recent past from the peak of 1.2 million tonnes per year in the 1980s.
“This situation calls for immediate remedial measures to resuscitate the company and save it from total collapse.
“The dire need for re-investment in the authority, in this regard, is well-acknowledged and receiving utmost active attention,” reads a communique issued at the end of the meeting.
The communique was signed by Tanzania’s Minister of Transport Harrison Mwakyembe, who is council chairperson and his Zambian counterpart Yamfwa Mukanga.
The two ministers said Tanzania and Zambia remain committed to funding Tazara operations and urged the board and management to look for other sustainable ways of financing the company by engaging the private sector.
Dr Mwakyembe and Mr Mukanga said they have reviewed the progress in implementation of the resolutions of the council at the last meeting in July this year where the two countries agreed to provide funding of US$80 million for recapitalisation and working capital requirements.
The shareholders have so far released about US$6 million, which has been used to pay salaries for workers in both countries.
The ministers also re-affirmed that Tazara is a unitary railway and shall remain so as originally proclaimed by founding fathers of Tanzania, Zambia and China.
On Tuesday, the Tanzania Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure called on its government to review the law establishing Tazara so that it can operate commercially instead of sticking to the present Act, which they described as obsolete and benefiting Zambia only.
However, the two ministers in the communique urged the Tazara board to speed up the process of reviewing the 1995 Act to make the authority more business-oriented by the end of this month.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda, Tanzania Deputy Minister of Finance Adam Malima, Tanzania’s Minister of Commerce and Trade Abdallah Kigoda and his Zambian counterpart Robert Sichinga.