Dar es Salaam — The government yesterday announced that the electronic ticketing for up-country buses will now be voluntary until all the challenges hampering the system got resolved.
Bus operators have been registering concerns over the system which came into effect in January 2021. Some of the transporters and passengers lack enough awareness and technical know-how which slow down the issuance of tickets.
Speaking during a stakeholder meeting involving private transport operators and the government, the Minister for Works and Transport, Dr Leonard Chamuriho, said, from now the system would be voluntary for those who can effectively access it and other operators can still use paper-based tickets.
"Compliance with the system will be voluntary until all the challenges have been addressed," he said.
Another key concern from the transporters was on the mismatch of laws and regulations from the East African Community (EAC) and those of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) blocs.
This is after transporters raised concerns that they were being subjected to abide by EAC laws while 75 percent of their trade volume was in the Sadc countries.
The Board chairperson of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Ms Angelina Ngalula, said some of the mismatched laws included the limit of cargo weight and other EAC regulations that Tanzania use on trading with Sadc countries.
"Data shows that the EAC bloc only gets 25 percent of the transit goods, we trade more with Sadc countries. Then why can't we use the Sadc regulations? By compliance with the EAC laws transporters lose more money regardless of our geographical advantage," she argued.
In the meeting, the stakeholders discussed challenges in the transportation sector. Minister Chamuriho said the government would review the laws and regulations that limit transporters to exploit the full potentials of the country.
"We will continue with talks in order to harmonize the trade facilitation of our country with the two blocs," he said.
Other concerns by the transporters include congestion along port access road; delays of border-crossings; shortage of holding areas; multiple levies by different authorities; digital use of EFD machines, markets, and inefficiency at the ports.
Moreover, the Minister for Industry and Trade, Prof Kitila Mkumbo, asserted that in pushing the development, the public and private sectors and the government must work together, as partners in business.
"It's crucial to work together without coercion from the government, as state laws and regulations must be followed but also interests of the sector must be considered," he said.
The minister said the challenges aired by the transport sector will be discussed and some of the resolutions will be discussed and presented at the key meeting of Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) that will be chaired by the President.