Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Board concerned over TAZARA business plan

BOARD of Directors of the Tanzania - Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has directed the management to prepare a bankable business plan for the troubled railway line to stand on its own as shareholding government find it increasingly difficult to continue bailing it out. The directives are contained in a communiqué issued after a TAZARA board of Director meeting held in Lusaka two weeks ago. The board said it was concerned that the authority continued to underperform and depend on subventions from shareholding governments despite directives that it 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,” a statement issued by TAZARA spokesperson Conrad Simuchile said. “We noted that the operational performance of the Authority has fallen to record low levels of less than 90,000 tons of freight per year in the Financial Year 2014/2015 from 208,538 tons recorded in the Financial Year 2013/2014.” 

The board directed the management to be proactive in handling challenges they face and develop a clear marketing strategy for the railway company so as to retain the current customers as well as win back old ones. According to the statement, the management should consider the possibility of inviting the private sector to invest and manage the Dar es Salaam Commuter Train, which is currently a very popular service that is alleviating the transport challenges in the city but remains a loss-making one. The board also approved a freight tonnage of 200,000 tons of freight and 1,980,000 passengers to be transported in the Financial Year 2015/2016 after considering the proposed budget for the Financial Year 2015/2016 and, taking into account the recent acquisition of new locomotives and wagons. The statement further noted that it was expecting a net operating profit of 1,689,544.00 US dollars from a total projected revenue of 45,808,960.00 US dollars against the total expenditure of 43,619,416.00 US dollars for the Financial Year 2015/2016.

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