Tanzania: Tazara Must Be Made to Tick-President - Magufuli

PRESIDENT John Magufuli has ordered for a quick review on the law that established the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) to make the railway line economically viable.

He issued the order yesterday when he made a stopover at Tazara Main Station in Dar es Salaam before he boarded the train on his way to Kisaki, Morogoro Region, a trip that will also take him to Rufiji, Coast Region where he is today expected to lay the foundation stone for the historic Rufiji Power Project.

According to President Magufuli, the Act that established Tazara denied either partner (Tanzania and Zambia) a chance to make any investment initiatives single handedly, a situation that also made it difficult to make any reforms in running the authority.

The president directed that the documents with proposals for the legal framework changes be sent to the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication to be submitted to his office within this week.

In order to revamp the authority, the two heads of state directed attorneys general of the two countries to meet and review the legal framework of the 1975 Tazara Act to accommodate changes and make it commercially viable and attractive to private players.

President Magufuli met with his Z ambian counterpart, Edgar Lungu, to discuss among other issues, Tazara's long-standing woes in November 2016. He said their decision was aimed at restoring Tazara's ability to serve its customers, noting that in 1976, Tazara transported five million tonnes of cargo annually, but due to low investment causing lack of engines and wagons, the figure had dropped to less than 300,000 as of last year.

"It was agreed that it was essential to review and restructure the legal frameworks so that any side that wants to invest can do so without hindrance," he pointed out, adding: "Currently, neither country can invest without the consent of the other, but must do so together. We must restructure the laws; Tazara is for both countries but legal provisions should allow any of the two countries to be able to conduct investment activities." The process is taking too long; the matter is supposed to be treated urgently for Tazara to survive, he noted.

"We will not abandon Tazara; it is the realization of the thoughts of our founders (Kenneth Kaunda and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere) aided by china; this is in their memory. Tazara will never die in our hands," he stated.

He further urged the Tazara management to make sure that they help their workers, noting that they were frustrated even though they did not want to voice their problems presumably because of fear.

"The workers look burdened with problems, so sit with them and solve their problems and draw my attention to the ones that will not be settled," he directed.

Tazara Managing Director Engineer Bruno Ching'andu and TAZARA's Regional General Manager for Tanzania, Mr Fuad Abdallah, affirmed that they had received the directives of restructuring the legal framework and had already submitted the proposals to the ministry.

"The process has been completed at the level of experts and attorneys general in both countries; what is pending is the ministerial level, for the cabinet paper to be submitted and be decided upon," said Mr Abdallah.

Meanwhile, ABELA MSIKULA reports that the government, through the President's Office at the State House, yesterday donated various food stuffs, building materials and cash to three orphanage centres in Dar es Salaam.

The items included maize flour, rice, sugar, soap-powder as well as cooking oil, among other items.

The building materials were specifically for construction of the dining room in the Sinza-based Orphanage Centre, commonly known as CHAKUWAMA. On behalf of the Chief Permanent Secretary, the Director of State House (DSH), Mr Charles Mwankupili, also handled over 300,000/- to CHAKUWAMA, for electricity bills clearance.

"As per your request to the State House, here is the government response as it is concerned with the living conditions of the children you are accommodating here," he said. CHAKUWAMA Director Hassan Khamis commended the government for its support, calling upon other Good Samaritans to support the children whose main needs are education and health services, plus food and clothes.

He said CHAKUWAMA also needs to expand the centre so that it can accommodate more children from the current 64. Its current capacity is only 80 children. It accommodates children aged from three to 18 years.

Mburahati Roman Catholic Church orphanage centre was also among the beneficiaries. At Msimbazi Orphanage Centre, the government handled over, among other things, powder milk and 600,000/ for fruits and electricity bills clearance.

One of the Centre's guardians, Sister Stella X zavery, praised the aid, remarking: "We are thankful that we have acquired the milk because it is among of the highly consumed items here, by children aged up to two years, whose main food is milk." She stressed that the milk is among the highly demanded food stuff at the centre, considering that an infant is able to finish a single 400g of powder milk within three days.

Majimatitu and Kijichi orphanage centres are also among the institutions that benefitted from the State House yesterday, said the DSH.

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