Zambia: Tazara , China Seal $U.S.42 Million Deal

TANZANIA-Zambia Railway Authority  Tazara and the Chinese government have concluded a US$42 million agreement that will see the company implement 12 projects aimed at improving the company’s operations.

The conclusion of the agreement comes after the Zambian, Tanzanian and Chinese governments signed an agreement under the 15th Economic and Technical Co-operation Protocol in March this year.

According to a statement released by Tazara head of public relationsConrad Simuchile, the agreement was sealed after communication between Tazara managing director, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika and Chinese chief representative for economic and commercial co-operation, Lin Zhiyong.

He said the new projects aimed at boosting Tazara operations include the rehabilitation of 42 passenger coaches, supply of four new mainline locomotives, two shunting locomotives and various rescue and lifting equipment.

Others are 30,000 pieces of wooden sleepers, track trolleys, assorted spare parts as well as training staff in various skills and attachment of Chinese experts to Tazara.

Commenting on the agreement, Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika thanked the Chinese government for the ever-present and tangible support to Tazara.

“While we acknowledge the support, we are grateful to the Chinese government for the continued positive association with Tazara,” he said.

Funds under the protocols are provided as interest-free loans to the Tanzanian and Zambian governments.

He said that the economic and technical support under the 15 protocols signed so far was what had kept Tazara going while awaiting the much needed recapitalisation, reconstruction and restructuring by the shareholding governments of Zambia and Tanzania.

‘The protocols are necessary and a critical factor to sustain Tazara in the interim period of the next three years while the Tanzanian and Zambian governments look for long-lasting solutions required for re-building our operating capacity,” Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika said.

Over the years, Tazara has been receiving regular financial support from the Chinese government through what are termed as ‘Protocols of Economic and Technical Co-operation’ signed with Zambia and Tanzania in the form of interest-free loans.

Once fully executed, the projects in the 14th and 15th protocols would collectively enhance Tazara’s capacity, doubling the number of locomotives by 2015.

Source : AllAfrica

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