DAR ES SALAAM – Tanzanian authorities has suspended enforcement of the East Africa Community (EAC) Vehicle Load Control Act, which came into effect on Jan. 1 to allow for completion of installation of new weighing system across the country.
A statement by the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications said its implementation has been postponed until March 1, and until that point the old law remains in place. “When the new law came to effect, the installation of weighing systems at all weighbridges in the country was not yet complete,” said the statement.
“This meant that systems under both the new and the old law were being used at the same time which led to inconveniences to the public,” said the statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Elius Mwakalinga.
As the installation of the new system in weighbridges continues, the government will also use the period before the new deadline of March 1 to sensitize stakeholders and the public about changes in the law, Mwakalinga said.
The law, passed in 2017, aims to protect roads in EAC member countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan by curbing overloading. Vehicles with a gross weight of 3,500 kg and more have to be weighed at every weighbridge they pass through.
The weight in axle of super single tyres has been lowered to 8.5 tonnes, from 10 tonnes. The law stipulates a 15,000-U.S.-dollar fine or three-year jail term or both, for contravening the new weight rules. Enforcement of the new law led to impounding of hundreds of lorries loaded with cargos at Tanzanian borders.
Drivers from non-EAC member countries whose vehicles were seized for overloading have been complaining that they were not aware of the existence of the new law in Tanzania. Last week, some 600 lorries loaded with cargo from neighbouring countries were seized by Tanzanian authorities at Tunduma border in Songwe region for being non-compliant with the new law.