As Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) marks its 40th anniversary; it is set to undergo major changes to improve its performance and benefit the economies of the two countries.
Established in 1976, TAZARA, which was established to unlock the landlocked Zambia and support the liberation struggle of the Southern African countries, is now working to ensure that it operates profitably.
Deputy TAZARA Executive Director Mr Betram Kisagwa told the 'Daily News' yesterday that a process is underway to amend the law governing the establishment of the authority to meet its new commercial objectives.
Mr Kisagwa was speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony to hand over an assortment of items, including 100 bed nets, 50 litres of disinfectant and 50 brooms to the Temeke District Referral Hospital donated by TAZARA as part of activities to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The authority's employees also conducted a cleanliness exercise at the hospital's premises. "TAZARA is currently undergoing major changes on its alignment and the law governing its establishment so that it can be autonomous in making decisions related to its business," Mr Kisagwa pointed out.
Mr Kisagwa, however, said that lack of a strategic plan to refurbish the company's infrastructure was among the challenges that affected its productivity. He added that the competitive environment that is faced by the railway authority after other countries such as South Africa and DRC Congo opened new routes to Zambia had also impacted on its performance.
The TAZARA boss, however, said that his company arrived at the decision to donate the items to Temeke Hospital as the main stakeholder on issues related to health. He said that the activities conducted in Tanzania would also be done on different times and location in Zambia.
Mr Kisagwa observed that although TAZARA commenced operations on July 14, 1976, activities to mark the anniversary will run up to September.
Temeke District Referral Hospital's Out Patient Department (OPD) Manager, Ms Christian Lyimo, expressed gratitude for the donation. She called upon the railway firm and other stakeholders to continue supporting the hospital since if faced a number of challenges, especially on drugs availability and medical equipment.
According to Ms Lyimo, the hospital has the capacity of attending between 350 and 500 out patients and admitting between 250 and 350 patients per day. TAZARA was constructed as a turnkey project between 1970 and 1975.
The project was financed through an interest free loan worth 500 million US dollars from the People's Republic of China. It started operations in July 1976.
It is an integral part of the Southern Africa Regional Rail Transport Network in addition to being a rail link of approximately 1,860-km from the East African port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to New Kapiri Mposhi at 1,400m above sea level in the Central African country of Zambia.
Source: Tanzania Daily News