Tanzania and Zambia governments are reviewing Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Act of 1995 to allow private investments in the joint-owned railway participate competitively.
Addressing stakeholders of TAZARA in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday during a trilateral cooperation of Zambia, Tanzania and China to mark 40th Anniversary of the authority, Assistant Director in the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation from the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Mr Aunyisa Meena, said undergoing reforms and amending TAZARA act were inevitable if the authority is to remain relevant in the cut-throat competition in the market.
“Since TAZARA has to attract private partnership there is dire need for reforms to take place so that it can meet the challenges of running business in the 21st century.
Now we are working close both countries to make sure necessary reforms are made to help TAZARA meet its target and help the economic development of the two countries as it was intended by both countries founding fathers,” said Mr Meena.
Among reforms that would take place is together with amending the TAZARA act to allow private sectors to inject their resources into the organisation, adding they will also make improvement at the management and infrastructure as well.
At its full potential TAZARA can transport 5 million tonnes of cargo per year, but, unfortunately the organisation is yet unable to transport even half of the target. “We intende to make the changes in very short time to make sure TAZARA meet the target required,” noted Mr Meena.
He, however, recommended efforts of the new management in reducing transport time of cargo from Dar es Salaam to Zambia from 30 days to 5 days.
The new TAZARA Managing Director, Dr Bruno Ching’adu, has vowed to turn around the fortunes of the railway authority after assuming the office this year.
“To start we reduced time spent to transport cargo from Dar es Salaam to Zambia from 30 to 35 days to 5 days in order to welcome more stakeholders to use the route,” clarified Mr Ching’adu.
He also said they will start engaging with our customers, stakeholders and other railway authorities to improve TAZARA services to compete in the region.
Meanwhile, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Gou Haodong, said both countries could do much better in revitalisation of TAZARA.
“If the three countries could achieve this magnificent railway, when all these countries were still facing economic hardship, there is no doubt that the revitalisation of TAZARA will be possible.
I have heard some people expressing reservation about challenges, difficulties, problems, these should not occupy our minds, since we all know our history that the railway was built in those difficult times,” said Mr Haodong. He assured the two governments that there is no doubt that China, Tanzania and Zambia – their economies are much stable today than before.
In another development, the organisation is now able to repair abandoned locomotives in its workshops to reduce shortage of locomotives the organisation has. Zambian High Commissioner, Ms Judith Kapijimpanga, said TAZARA is the historical strong bonds of the three countries.
“This historical railway line can be identified as the starting point of Sino-Africa cooperation as it opened up other doors for Chinese engagement on the African continent which has recorded numerous achievements among which TAZARA is one of the largest project,” noted Ms Kapijimpanga.