Dodoma — TRANSPORT Minister Harrison Mwakyembe has announced an ambitious plan aimed at reviving the country's ailing railway transport sector.
Unveiling his ministry's 2014/15 budget estimates in the National Assembly on Saturday, Dr Mwakyembe said 13 locomotives, 22 passenger coaches, 274 cargo wagons, 34 brakes and 24 gravel-carrier wagons will be procured while eight other coaches will be constructed.
"Purchase agreement for the 13 new locomotives was signed in April, 2013. They are expected in the country in December, this year," the minister informed the House.
Dr Mwakyembe reported that the purchase agreement for 22 new passenger coaches was inked in March last year after which all payments were done.
The coaches are expected in the country in September. The agreement for the purchase of 274 goods wagons was signed in March, 2013 preliminary payments for which were made in February this year. Final payment is expected to be made next month before delivery of the wagons in September.
He added the purchase of 22 train brakes was on good footing as contract for which was signed in March last year. All the payments have been made with the brakes expected in July.
According to Dr Mwakyembe, 22 special gravel wagons were also expected in July, adding that the construction of eight locomotives at the Morogoro workshop was continuing smoothly with three already built by April, this year. The rest are expected to be ready in September.
He pointed out that during 2013/14, the ministry, under the Big Results Now (BRN) initiative, was allocated 165.68bn/- for the implementation of railway projects.
It had by April received 145.08bn/- or 88 per cent of the amount. He added that the government would during 2014/15 put aside 126.9bn/- for the construction of other eight locomotives, purchase of other 204 cargo wagons, purchase of 11 new locomotives as well as construction and maintenance of the Central Railway Line.
In another development, the minister said that TRL in 2013 transported 1,343,763 passengers in the city of Dar es Salaam compared to 230,009 transported in 2012 whereas Tazara transported 1,460,506 in 2013 compared to 148,524 transported in 2012.
"The government is making efforts to expand train transport services in Dar es Salaam, including plans to attract private investors to boost its development," he said.
Dr Mwakyembe noted that a special committee was formed last year to study train transport in the city and advice on ways to have it improved.
He added that the committee has completed its work and issued its recommendations in April, this year where various strategies have been proposed including the expansion of railway transport from the current 20kilometres to 50 in a bid to reach out to the Coast Region towns of Kisarawe, Kibaha, Mkuranga and Bagamoyo.
He noted that nine bidders have shown interest to conduct a feasibility study for the expansion of services to Bunju, Kibaha, Mbagala and Pugu.
"The government has in 2014/15 financial year put aside 2.92bn/- for the feasibility study of the railway line in Dar es Salaam, including the one heading to Pugu, Mbagala Chamanzi, Luguruni Kibaha, Bunju and Kerege," he said.
The minister asked the National Assembly to approve 527,933,790,000/- out of which 93,306,391,000/- is for recurrent expenditure and 434,627,399,000/- for development projects.
He added that the recurrent expenditures entails 33,027,291,000/- for Personal Emoluments (P.E) and 60,279,100,000/- for Other Charges (OC). Development projects entails 273,140,000,000/- from local sources and 161,487,399,000/- from development partners.