- Published on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 01:42
- Written by MASEMBE TAMBWE
- Hits: 529
THE type of railway gauge the country should opt for will take centre stage during the ongoing stakeholders meeting on the proposed rail transport policy framework.
The Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said when opening a two-day meeting in Dar es Salaam that he hoped while experts were deliberating on the policy draft, they find time and come up with proposals on the gauge.
"Taking a quick scan around the room, I can see the country's brains in the railway industry here. I am very sure that we will get excellent suggestions and recommendations on which railway gauge best suits the country," he said.
Dr Mwakyembe later told journalists that he is looking forward to receiving the final draft from the stakeholders' meeting because presently there were two types of gauges being used in the country, the narrow one that is deemed outdated by others and the Cape gauge.
He said that the Cape gauge which is 1.067 metres runs on the Tanzania - Zambia track while the East African Community (EAC) has proposed that the standard gauge be 1.435 metres.
"With these in mind, we are highly depending on the outcome of the stakeholders' meeting particularly on the deliberations of the gauge because it is vital that Tanzanians make their choice," he said.
Dr Mwakyembe said he believed that a good railway transport can provide sustainable economic growth for the country saying that he was thankful to the Rail Transport Advisory Committee Chairman for completing the policy draft.
The Rail Transport Advisory Committee Chairman, Eng Malima Bundara, said that since October 2011 when they were given the task of coming up with strategies to revamp the railway transport for the next 50 years, it wasn't easy.
Eng Bundara said that their experience had shown that the railway system was in a pathetic state and desperately needed investment. "This draft policy entails ways on how to address different challenges, guidelines on how to import, the best gauge to use, how and where to invest, how to do it and issues on railway sabotage," he said.
The chairman said that when they were given the task, their terms of reference were collection of policy documents and learn best practices from other countries, study business in the transport, project railway demand for 50 years, analysis of challenges, consumer consultative meetings and comparative gauge use.