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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

TAZARA Shambles

TAZARA's Managing Director Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika (former Presidential right hand man) on the state of TAZARA :

“Of late the revenue achievements of TAZARA at best have been averaging US $3 million per month, which is still not sufficient to comfortably cover the day to day operations costs...So our immediate task is to see if we can raise our monthly revenues to at least US $5 million....Because of the backlog of indebtedness and the low capacity utilisation, it means we are faced with serious liquidity problems and we are unable to finance the day-to-day operational costs..."
TAZARA operations have continued to deteriorate over the years while infrastructure has suffered significant wear and tear. Cargo has been marooned while passengers have not been spared whenever a derailment occurs. Apart from wearing out, the tracks, which were constructed between 1970 and 1975, have been vandalised, rendering operations even more difficult. Last year Mr Chipepo and Co announced they had accumulated $60 million debt because of failure to pay pension packages for retired employees, non-remittance of tax to revenue authorities, failure to meet clients' needs resulting in litigation, and generally poor management, among other factors. Part of this appears to have been cancelled via Chinese free loans. There have been some glimmers of light which Mr Lewanika is hoping to build on.



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