Managing Director of TAZARA, Mr Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika said in a general message to mark the end of the year and the beginning of 2012, that TAZARA needs long-lasting comprehensive solutions to the long-standing problems that the Authority faces and that it was encouraging to see the two shareholding governments taking steps towards that.
Mbikusita-Lewanika said, "There is no option for either abandoning TAZARA or continuing with piece meal interventions on the part of shareholding governments. There is equally no merit in continuing to rely on external loan financiers of ad hoc equipments or services. What is called for is a comprehensive solution and nothing else."
"Anything short of this or any continuation of business as usual amounts to a wastage of resources in aid of futility and is bound to make the situation worse in the long run. Africa is clearly recognized as the emerging market (of global interest). In this regard countries which are well positioned for intra-Africa trade will be the major beneficiaries. Hence, infrastructure development of rail and road linkages ought to be of great priority. TAZARA is a case in point," he said.
Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika stated that the management of TAZARA has been reassured and encouraged by the accommodation of some of the support requirements of TAZARA in the 2012 budget, emphasizing that there could not have been a better start in showing that the Government of the Republic of Zambia fully appreciated the challenges facing TAZARA and what needs to be done about them.
He also said the management was further encouraged by the steps taken by TAZARA Council of Ministers, towards the long deferred resolution of the Authority's problems at the meeting held on 13th December, 2011 in Lusaka.Mbikusita-Lewanika highlighted that the total financial resources required to resolve the TAZARA problems is more than 770,110,750.81 US dollars, out of which half is required to be put up by each of the two shareholding government.
He said that this must be considered in the fuller context of appreciating that TAZARA is very critical for the development of the Tanzanian and Zambian economies, as well as its equally positive place in the sub-regional transportation and communications for serving development and trade.
He said that once the recommended measures are taken, they would result in improving TAZARA's operations and the infrastructure, whilst at the same time enabling TAZARA to source investment capital from commercial lending institutions and provide the requisites for the smooth operations.
"The impact of the two cabinets' approval of our recommendations would provide an enabling environment for TAZARA to better fulfill the original and still necessary mandate and normalise operations and also redress the abnormal situation under which authorised share capital is less than capital contribution," the DG stated.
He elaborated that such a move would establish TAZARA as an economically sound and financially viable company and in the long run, lighten the burden on state treasuries, adding that overall, it would enhance the economic and social development contribution of TAZARA to Tanzania and Zambia as well as other SADC, COMESA and EAC countries.