Sunday, December 20, 2015 

TAZARA Board fix sights on $1m profit

ALL ABOARD: The TAZARA Board projects that 1,980,000 passengers are to be transported during 2015/2016.

DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) Board of Directors has begun a streamlining scheme towards generating a net operating profit of $1,689,544 from projected revenues of $45,808,960 writes TIMOTHY KITUNDU. 

The Board meeting took place in Lusaka and was co-chaired by Mrs. Mbololwa Muyaba, the Zambian Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and Festo Mwanyika representing the Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works United Republic of Tanzania.

In a communiqué it is stated that 1,980,000 passengers are to be transported during the period 2015/2016. 

“Further, considering the current low performance of the Authority, we introduced austerity cuts in expenditure, amounting to 50% of Management’s spending proposals,” it reads in part.   

The Board said the operational performance of the Authority has fallen to record low levels of less than 90,000 tonnes of freight per year in 2014/2015 from 208,538 tonnes recorded in 2013/2014. 

“It is with concern that the Authority has continued to underperform and depend on subventions from the shareholding governments despite the directives that the Authority should strive to be self-sustaining in its operations. Both governments find it difficult to justify the continuation of any subventions to TAZARA, which is otherwise a potentially viable company, and insist that the Authority must stand on its own going forward,” the Board concluded.

In this regard, the Board directed the management, to begin to show pro-activeness in handling all operational challenges and should henceforth present to the Board a bankable business plan, prepare a clear Marketing Strategy to retain the current customers, win back old customers as well as win new customers.

The railway was opened in the late 1970s, primarily to help Zambia become less dependent on South African ports for its imports and exports. However, with the end of Apartheid and little re-capitalisation TAZARA has been hit hard. 

By Timothy Kitundu, Sunday, December 20th, 2015