We are in really bad shape, admits Tazara management

26Dec 2018
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
We are in really bad shape, admits Tazara management

THE Tanzania-Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) has admitted that it is still facing several challenges despite the strides it has made towards ensuring “positive performance”.

The admission comes from the authority’s regional general manager in Tanzania (RGM-T), Fuhad Abdallah, who has disclosed: “We have received a cash injection of 1.2bn/- from the government, but are still finding it very difficult to pay workers’ salaries on time. In fact, last month’s (November) salaries were paid only as recently as December 10, 2018.”

Speaking at a Tanzania Railway Workers Union (TRAWU) national council meeting held here recently, the RGM-T said that records show that the authority collected $21.32 million gross in gross while running costs stood at $34 million.

He further admitted that workers who retired between 2009 and recent months are yet to be paid their benefits “largely owing to meagre income we have been generating”.

Abdallah said their performance in terms of freight and the number of passengers it carries has been on the decline every passing year, elaborating: “Our performance in terms of cargo has been falling by 20 tonnes every year on average and probably next year will see us it sink to zero,” he told the meeting.

He said that the authority’s 2015/2016 financial year saw total the performance stand at 128,000 tonnes, this rising to 171,000 tonnes in 2016/2017 and 220,000 tonnes in 2017/2018 it was 220,000 tonnes, “but the increase was due to the fact that the government has been paying all our workers’ salaries”.

“Improvements recorded during the period under review were mostly attributed to continued interventions by the two shareholding governments (Tanzania and Zambia) through the provision of working capital support. It is chiefly this that facilitated the improvements in our business environment, including the stability in our operations,” noted the RGM-T.

Shedding light on the measures they were contemplating as a way of weathering the storms they were experiencing, he said the management was planning to bring in 12 locomotives so as to increase freight transportation capacity to 30 tonnes per day.

“We are also weighing the possibility of repairing old engines, leasing others as well as seeking new investors to operate the railway line,” he added.

TRAWU chairman Ben Kiago make an impassioned appeal to the TAZARA and Tanzania Railway Corporation management teams to exercise more seriousness in addressing challenges facing their workers.

“The council would appreciate seeing you implement the recommendations made to you at this particular meeting and at previous ones by responding appropriately to the challenges facing workers under you,” he said.



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