Over $130 million (about KR 650 million) is required to recapitalise the Tanzania-Zambia Raliway Authority (TAZARA) into a self sustainable railway line.
At a TAZARA Board of Directors and Council of Ministers meeting in Lusaka recently, management revealed that the bi-national railway system faced a huge challenge of working capital and sustainable capacity.
TAZARA Managing Director, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, said the company has since identified a three phase strategy comprising of an immediate injection of $32 million (about KR 160 million) working capital, a Medium Term Investment capital of $100 million (about KR500 million) and long term capital whose exact cost is yet to be determined.
Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said the immediate injection of $32 million would positively impact on TAZARA to attain self sustainable operations of about 700, 000 tonnes per annum within seven months.Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said this in a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka yesterday.He stated that the medium term investment of $100 million would provide TAZARA with a self sustainable capacity of over one (1) million tonnes per annum within two (2) to three (3) years.
He stressed the need for determination, preparation and implementation of long term capitalisation, adding that the cost for the third phase of the investment should be taken up by the shareholding governments.
Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika disclosed that the company has outsourced experts to work on business and strategic plans to position TAZARA as a good investment venture.
Meanwhile, Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika’s contract as Managing Director for TAZARA came to an end on 20th February and has since written to President Michael Sata to thank him for the opportunity to serve the people of Zambia.
In his letter dated February 22, 2013 and headlined “Completion of Contract: Gratitude and Appreciation for Opportunity and Support to Serve as TAZARA Managing Director,” Mr Lewanika said he was grateful to President Sata and the government of Zambia for the public service opportunity given to him and the financial and political support accorded to TAZARA during his tenure.
He explained that he had completed his three years contract of service as Managing Director of TAZARA as well as the one month extension period given up to the 20th February 2013 meeting of the council of ministers.
Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika also informed the Head of State that TAZARA’s biggest constraint was poor availability and reliability of locomotives and wagons which he said triggered a vicious cycle from a shortage of operations and reinvestment to inadequate and untimely provision of fuel, spares, and other materials.