The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) says it has made a profit of US$13.50 million for the just ended financial year of 2015 to 2016.
The jointly owned railway firm has since projected to generate about US$44.10 million in the 2016/2017 financial year due to a turnaround in business and cost-effective operations.
TAZARA has attributed the profit to improved business resulting from increased haulage from 87,000 metric tons of freight in the 2014/2015 financial year to 130,000 metric tons in the 2015/2016 financial year.
This is according to a communique issued to ZANIS in Lusaka today by TAZARA Board of Directors at its 108th meeting held on 29th July, 2016 in Lusaka.
Dr Leonard Chamuriho who is Tanzania’s permanent Secretary for Transport and Communication signed the communique together with his Zambian counterpart Engineer Misheck Lungu as joint chairpersons of the TAZARA Board.
The communique also points out that TAZARA has made significant improvements in both the inter-state and commuter passenger train operations.
The board has since approved a projected haulage target of 381,000 metric tons of freight and 2,280,000 (interstate and commuter) passengers to be transported in the 2016/2017 financial year that will culminate into total revenue of US$44.10 million.
According to the communique, the Board urged management at the railway firm to actively pursue non-rail business activities in order to supplement its revenues.
The communique further states that TAZARA Management has been directed to be more aggressive towards creating and accommodating proposals for Public-Private Partnerships.
The TAZARA board urged Management to expedite the conclusion of the proposed partnership with the Copperbelt University at the TAZARA Training Centre in Mpika, Muchinga Province as an area for enriching capacity building for the Authority.
The communique pointed out that the TAZARA Act of 1995 is under review in the two countries in order to make the Authority more business-oriented through decentralisation as well as recapitalisation of the firm.
The Board also noted the concerns expressed by customers of TAZARA and other stakeholders in the transport sector in Zambia and Tanzania, on the impact of the introduction of Value-Added Tax on services for goods transiting through the Port of Dar es Salaam.
The TAZARA Board resolved to request the Dar es Salaam Corridor Committee to quickly undertake an independent study and advise on the competitiveness of the Dar es Salaam Port in light of the fiscal policy to other regional ports and the potential impact on TAZARA.
Meanwhile, the TAZARA Board of Directors has strongly directed its management to discontinue the renewal of contracts for retired employees and instead allow younger employees to take over the positions left by exiting staff.
The government of the people’s republic of China together with Tanzania and Zambia are exploring ways of resuscitating and improving operations of the jointly owned railway firm.
Recently, China pledged to inject US$ 376 million into TAZARA for the rehabilitation of the railway infrastructure as an integral part of the Southern Africa regional rail transport network
TAZARA was founded over 40 years ago when Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda, founding fathers of China, Tanzania and Zambia respectively, visioned connecting East and Southern Africa to promote and sustain regional trade, and social economic development.
However over the last two decades, TAZARA has been under-performing and experienced deterioration in infrastructure due to lack of investment.