BUSES plying upcountry routes have resumed operations following Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda's intervention, the Tanzania Bus Operators Association (TABOA) has confirmed.
Speaking to 'Daily News', Mr Mustafa Malonge, who is a TABOA central committee member, said that Prime Minister, Mr Pinda has directed that transport operations follow the old system which carried a five per cent allowable axle-load.
"Yesterday (Tuesday) we had lengthy discussions with the regional commissioner (RC) together with the regional committee. Afterwards the committee went to meet with Prime Minister Pinda, where he issued the directives," Mr Malongo explained.
Confusion reigned at the main Ubungo Bus Terminal (UBT) on Tuesday as upcountry bus operators staged a three-hour boycott, leaving thousands of passengers in a state of confusion and anguish.
The standoff prompted emergency consultations among leaders of the Tanzania Bus Operators Association (TABOA), the Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA), the National Traffic Police Commander, Mr Mohamed Mpinga and others.
Temporary resolve at the end of the discussions culminated in the departure of passenger buses at around 9.30am under specific terms of agreement to get passengers to their destinations.
The controversy surrounded the firm position maintained by the government on control of the five per cent allowable axle-load, insisting that all passenger buses should pass through installed axle weighing scales and those found to be overloading pay the penalty accordingly.
Yesterday, however, the 'Daily News' witnessed upcountry buses leaving Ubungo Bus Terminal, implying that operations had gone back to normal. Meanwhile, Tanzania Roads Agency Pwani Regional Manager, Eng. Timothy Sarakikya, said that traffic was flowing smoothly at Kibaha weighbridge but did not give details.
"All trucks are going through the weighbridge as required," Eng. Sarakikya said. Tanzania Truck Owners Association spokesman, Elias Lukumay said he has heard of the PM's order, but did not get any official communication by the time we went to press yesterday.
Truck and upcountry bus owners staged a boycott since last Monday protesting Works Minister, Dr John Magufuli's abolition of a five per cent allowable weight for overloaded cargo trucks and buses.
In a press release dated October 1, this year and signed by Mussa Iyombe on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, it was stated that the five per cent allowable weight has been abolished and all cargo motor vehicles with minimum capacity of 3.5 tonnes will now have to go through weighbridges.
"The minister responsible for roads has abolished a directive issued through a letter with Ref. No CKA/16/419/09 of July 19, 2006 which gave exemption from penalty all trucks overloaded cargo within five per cent allowable weight which is acceptable by law," read part of the release.
The release further noted that any motor vehicle found to have excess cargo but within five per cent allowable weight, will be required to offload the excess weight, readjust the cargo or pay penalty of four times the normal penalty of 100 US dollars (over 160,000/-) per ton.