Postive, is the description used by the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) management to describe client response to the railway agency’s intensive efforts to raise working capital.
The organ that recently suffered much criticism believes with improved financing then reliable and efficient customer service will be imminent.
Managing Director Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika, revealed that some clients willing to inject funds inform of advance payment to be repaid through transportation of freight.
The director was speaking at an African Diplomatic Group (ADG) meeting held in Dar es Salaam last week. He conceded that this was one way to acquire short term working capital and all should be well if only the additional USD5m promised by each of the shareholding governments is paid up, soon.
Given the financial challenges facing Tazara, the Managing Director is optimistic with the initiative calling it ‘innovative’ and sees it as a move away from what he called ‘hand-to-mouth operations’ a result of long standing liquidity constraints.
The heads of diplomatic missions, which included High Commissioners and Ambassadors from 13 African countries, were reminded just how imperative it was to advance Africa’s cooperation, integration and unity for national and continental development.
“Pan Africanism should not only be words but must also be inculcated in the mentality and disposition of the broad citizenry of Africa…” the director called saying Pan Africanism must not be nationalistic or tainted with negative politicisation or even the fear of integration must not be allowed to reverse already attained achievements, such as Tazara, is.
The authority representative was realistic about the challenges ahead and that it would take long term planning and that more than the much needed funding there must be overall shift of the very manner of conduct a return to the basics of work ethics.
“…beyond mobilizing working capital fund, there is need for fundamental recapitalization that must be accompanied by Tazara’s comprehensive reconstruction, organizational restructuring and working cultural change… ” he observed.
Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Tanzania, Edzai Chimonyo, who was also Chairing the ADG meeting in place of the Ugandan High Commissioner to Tanzania, told the gathering that there was need to guard and protect Tazara because it was an asset that was strategically placed and upon which many landlocked countries in the region depended for trade through the port of Dar es salaam.
“My hope is that this authority can rise to the challenge and become more efficient, even as we wish for this railway to emerge as a symbol of Pan African integration that other countries in Africa can look up to,” said the ambassador.
The ADG meeting is a gathering held once a month in Dar es Salaam by members of, African Diplomatic Corps. Tazara was invited to make a presentation under the theme “Trains, Trade and Transformation”.
As posted on the organizations site tazarasite.com Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) is a statutory institution owned by two governments, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Zambia.
It provides the shortest route to the middle and far East for landlocked Zambia through the seaport of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania via New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.