GOVERNMENT should find a lasting solution to the problems that have remained unresolved at the Tanzania Zambia Railways (TAZARA) so that the workers and shareholders can start benefiting from the railway transport system.
Used properly, TAZARA is a viable transport system which can support human travel and trade.
This is because a good quality rail transport system is more reliable than road transport as it has a lower accidents rate.
An efficient railway transport system can also be used in the transportation of bulk cargo which cannot easily be moved on roads.
From Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia to Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, million of Zambians and Tanzanians use TAZARA to the benefit of the two countries.
Being a landlocked country, Zambia needs an efficient transport system to move goods from the shores of friendly countries such as Tanzania.
It should be noted that at the moment, most Zambians are using Dar-es-Salaam to bring in their goods, including vehicles.
Instead of using the rail transport, however, most Zambians who travel to Tanzania to collect their imports would rather use road transport.
This is because TAZARA has over the years deteriorated, thereby becoming largely unattractive for use.
This is what has made TAZARA become a loss-making company.
News that the TAZARA workers have not been paid in the last two months is not only a sad development but also torture to the company’s workforce and their families.
We wonder what the workers and their families are surviving on without salaries from their employer.
This comes three months after the Government of Zambia assured workers that they would look into the operations of TAZARA with a view of revamping the railway company.
This was after the workers went five months without receiving their salaries.
Government had to source funds to enable TAZARA pay its workers their salary arrears.
But Government cannot continue pumping money into a company which is failing to improve its operations and meet its financial obligations to its workers and suppliers.
The Government should heed the advice from TAZARA workers that there is need for a bankable business plan to revive the company.
TAZARA should be made to be attractive for both trade and travel so that the company can start making profit for its operations and meet its financial obligations to the workers.
If this was done, Zambians would start seeing the durability of roads and spend less on maintenance and repair.
Government has no choice but to revamp TAZARA.