SINCE last year, life at Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has undergone fluctuations as Transport Minister Dr Harrison Mwakyembe struggles to restore sanity at the country's major port.
Indeed, it is clear that Dr Mwakyembe has and continues to do a credible job of replacing unwanted personalities especially within TPA's management and board of directors.
Soon after taking over, Dr Mwakyembe made headlines by suspending the top management at TPA and Dar es Salaam port before extending a similar cleanup operation to the board of directors.
The result of these changes are impressive; theft of containers and other goods have been reduced or completely stopped, monthly revenue collected by TPA at the country's prime port has more than doubled and efficiency has also improved in terms of ships dwell time although complete cargo clearance remains problematic.
Last week, several names at the board which was appointed last year were replaced by others as the Minister said he was addressing a rift existing among board members that he appointed earlier. The replacement comes at a time when Dar es Salaam port needs rapid improvement to address inefficiency and revenue loss.
It also comes at a time when many senior management officials at TPA including the Director General are simply acting in their positions and the recruitment process seems to be stalled. It is therefore our hope that the new board members will be given time to deliver on their job description.
The new board should urgently join hands and work with the temporary management to ensure that the pending business especially of recruiting permanent senior management officials is concluded soonest.
Dar es Salaam port is one of the Central Corridor essential components which need rapid improvement to deliver on Big Results Now initiative (BRN) championed by President Jakaya Kikwete's administration.
But in order for BRN goals to be attained especially that of increasing cargo handled by Dar es Salaam port from the current close to 9 tonnes to 12 tonnes by 2015, all port stakeholders should work together including the private sector.
It is counter-productive to ignore the private sector in implementing any major changes aimed at improving performance of the country's prime port. TPA management and board should ensure that they work closely with genuine private players through their recognised associations to ensure that goals set up by BRN are attained.
We therefore do not expect issues such as unilateral decisions to sign an electronic cargo tracking note system agreement between TPA and Belgian based Antaser Afrique BVBA repeated.
We also hope that for the sake of stability and sustainability at TPA, Dr Mwakyembe will also give more time to the new board members to deliver.