Minister for Transport Dr Harison Mwakyembe has tasked the newly formed Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) Board to immediately stop the transportation of train fuel from Dar es Salaam to its various stations in the country by using road network since the system contributes to rising fuel theft in the cash strapped state owned company.
Currently, the TRL transports train fuel from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro, Dodoma and other stations by using lorries, which contravenes the policy of promoting rail transport, and also damages roads due to heavy cargo trucks.
Dr Mwakyembe gave the order in Dar es Salam yesterday during the launching of the new TRL board formed by six members, under the chairmanship of Engineer Severine Kaombwe.
The minister explained that TRL has a problem of misuse and fuel theft, thus the current system of transporting it cannot in any way solve that problem.
TRL as a transportation company can do its own haul, helping government efforts to reduce the number of cargo truck on the roads, “so it is surprising to see the same company using trucks in transportation.”
He said the government will not be understood by the public, directing the board “to stop this meaningless system immediately.”
To end the fuel theft problem does not need any feasibility studies or foreign money but it needs the board to take up its responsibilities effectively.
However, Dr Mwakyembe said that in the current financial year the ministry is set to use Sh104 billion for paying TRL debts to RITES Ltd and others, and the money will also be used in different corporate development projects.
Rebuilding of eight train engines, 124 wagons and buying 13 new train engines and 22 new wagons shall also be done with those funds, he stated.
Dr Mwakyembe expressed his disappointment over the declining number of cargos that arrives at the port via the railway system, saying the proportion dropped to five per cent in 2012 from 70 per cent in 1980.
Earlier, in his welcoming remarks the TRL Executive Director, Kiparo Kisamfu told the minister that the decline of rail transport in the country was caused by poor investment in that sector.
The director promised that through the new TRL board they will revive the company and make it effectively contribute to the national economy.
TRL Board Chairman Severine Kaombwe said at the ceremony that as TRL is meant to be doing business they will make sure the company generates a profit so as to make it more sustainable.
The board will not defend the company in the face of problems or just identify challenges but be good decision makers and provide answers to problems, which will build the good image of TRL, he stated.
On July 2011, RITES Ltd handed over TRL operations to a temporary management team, in which case the company has lacked a board of directors since then.