It will not come as an unexpected development if the next thing we see is the total collapse of the company. The problems facing Tazara are not new and it is saddening to note that past governments never made any meaningful efforts to turn around the company. The problems are so huge that even the injection of US$39 million last year by the Chinese government in an attempt to revive operations of the company following the signing of the 14th protocol, has yielded nothing. Last year, a team of experts was put together to carry out a post-mortem of the troubled railway company but it seems the task was too difficult for the team; to-date, no report has been compiled on the way forward.
Tazara has unfavourable debt and equity ratio which closes opportunities for accessing long term operational loans from any financial institution.The company needs more than US$700 million to operate smoothly and apart from that, it owes National Pensions Scheme Authority(NAPSA) more than K300 billion, Zambia State Insurance Corporation(ZSIC) is owed more than $40 million and the Zambia Revenue Authority(ZRA) more than $10 million as well as, Tazara retirees more than K100 billion. The list is endless as this does not include legal fees and money owed to saving employees.
Except from a recent Times of Zambia piece that calls on the two governments to “live up to their full responsibility of ensuring that the company which was created for a noble cause, is totally rescued from total collapse”.