Dar, Lusaka want TAZARA Act review soon
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TANZANIA-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Council of Ministers have called on the board of directors of the joint-owned railway line to speed review of the legal bottleneck for the transformation of the institution to make it commercially viable and attractive to private players.

In a meeting in Lusaka, Zambia last Friday, the council of ministers, comprising the Ministers responsible for Transport, Finance and Industry in Tanzania and Zambia said they noted there were some progress towards reviewing the TAZARA Act but noted they would want the process expedited.

"We noted that some progress had been made towards the review of the TAZARA Act to transform the institution and make it more business-oriented, but urged the Board of Directors to speed up the process and conclude the review within one month," they said in a communiqué availed to the media over the weekend.

Tanzania and Zambia are pushing for speeding up amendment of law to enable Tazara, a railway line they jointly own, run commercially and attract private investments.

In 2014 the Board of Directors of the authority was directed to expedite the process to amend the law governing operation of the line and have the draft changes submitted to Chairperson of the council. It was not immediately known why the anticipated changes have taken so long.

Speaking during the 7th East and Central Africa Roads and Rail Summit 2016, the Managing Director, Bruno Ching'andu invited the private sector to take advantage of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models to partner with the railway line running of the Dar es Salaam Commuter Train, whose demand is massive and cannot be satisfied.

Mr Ching'andu said they were also open to PPPs in the installation of the signaling and telecommunication systems, which have been vandalised over the years. He highlighted PPP investment opportunities in TAZARA's quarries and workshops, which he pointed out as having huge potential but required re-investment in equipment.

In the Lusaka meeting last Friday, the council of ministers said they had noted improvements in TAZARA performance after management changes but noted there were a lot needed to be done to improve further and achieve break even levels.

"We noted that the performance of the Authority had begun improving following the change of top management and some technical adjustments in the operations in the last two years. However, it was observed that there was still a lot that needed to be done in order to enhance the performance further and achieve breakeven levels.

" The ministers also urged the Board of Directors to make a proper business case to justify shareholder funding at this time when there was still a dire need for injection of investment funds in the Authority and the two governments remained fully committed to sourcing recapitalisation funds.

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