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Tazara workers protest hiring out rail

By PETER SICHALI

TAZARA workers have protested Government’s decision to allow the company to hire out its rail to private operators.

The workers feel that allowing private businesses to access Tazara rail facilities would disadvantage the Institution and make it even less profitable.

Worker’s Union of Tazara (WUTAZ) president Beldwin Mulowa said private operators using the facilities were having more haulage cargo than Tazara. Mr Mulowa said Government should instead suspend Open Access to do away with private operators accessing Tazara railway line.

“There is no way someone just accessing your line can be surpassing you in terms of haulage of cargo,” he said in an interview.

Mr Mulowa said the decision to have private operators access Tazara lines was rather rushed because of the playing field which was not levelled.

He said these private operators have literary taken away business from TAZARA making it difficult for it to operate sustainably. Mr Mulowa said Tazara was currently facing a lot of challenges including failure to pay salaries for workers.

Mr Mulowa said the gate-takings Tazara has been getting from private operators cannot help solve the problems the company is facing.

Recently, Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary Misheck  Lungu said Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) should engage two or more companies to run on open access to    expand revenue base.

Mr Lungu said the institution is making about $6 million  per year from one operator for using Tazara railway facilities.

He said Tazara was currently charging 1 dollar per tonne for each kilometre.

“Having more operators will help the institution to generate money from private operators using the rail facilities,” Mr Lungu said.

Mr Lungu said there was need for more private companies to set up wagons to operate on Tazara facilities at a fee.

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