Govt promises 6bn/- to bail out TAZARA

The government has promised to release 6.0bn/- within two weeks to bailout the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).

TAZARA Head of Public Relations, Mr Conrad Simuchile, said in a statement that the government has also confirmed that all employees of the Authority were now effectively on the civil service payroll, as from last month.

The Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Transport, Dr Shaaban Mwinjaka, made the announcements when he accompanied the Chief Secretary, Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, at a meeting to address over 300 workers of TAZARA in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

The Chief Secretary's address came in the wake of demands by unionized employees of TAZARA to be addressed by the President Jakaya Kikwete, following failure by the Authority to clear outstanding salary arrears.

Addressing the workers, Ambassador Sefue, told the workers that the two governments of Tanzania and Zambia attached a lot importance to TAZARA and would never allow the company to collapse, emphasizing that TAZARA had critical role to play in the economies of the two countries.

"TAZARA is a symbol of true friendship and co-operation amongst the countries of China, Tanzania and Zambia and it has critical role to play in the economies of Tanzania and Zambia. For that reason, we will never allow it to fold up," the Chief Secretary said.

Ambassador Sefue, told the workers that despite many challenges that the Authority was currently facing, the two governments were committed and determined to make sure that these challenges were addressed permanently.

"I thank you for your patience and for enduring months without payment of salaries, but I promise that the matter of going for months without salaries will be permanently addressed alongside the recapitalisation of the Authority," said Ambassador Sefue.

Announcing the planned release of the funds to TAZARA, Dr Mwinjaka, who is also the Co-Chairperson of the TAZARA Board of Directors together with his Zambian Counterpart, echoed the Chief Secretary's pronouncement that the government of Tanzania was committed to revamping TAZARA.

He said that apart from ensuring that the workers of TAZARA were now included on the government payroll, in the interim as the challenges of TAZARA were being addressed, the government had also agreed to release 6.0bn/- as part of recapitalization, specifically for the purchase of fuel, maintenance of the track, repair of Kongolo Quarry and repair of locomotives and coaches. 
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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