THE Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) board of directors has reprimanded management following a slump in the performance of the authority after recording a meagre 90,000 tonnes in the 2014/2015 compared to 208, 538 recorded in the 2013/2014 financial year.

In a statement made available to the Sunday Nation yesterday, board chairperson Mbombolwa Muyaba, said the board was concerned that the authority had continued to underperform despite the two governments’ directive that it should be self-sustaining.

Ms. Muyaba noted that both the Zambian and Tanzanian governments had found it difficult to justify the continuation of subventions because TAZARA was a potentially viable institution.

She said after the board’s meeting, which consisted of members from both countries in Lusaka on Friday, it was agreed that certain measures be taken to ensure that the institution redeemed itself from the financial quagmire it had plunged into.

“It is with concern that the authority has continued to underperform and depend on subventions from the shareholding governments, despite the directives that the Authority should strive to be self-sustaining in its operations.

“Both Governments find it difficult to justify the continuation of any subventions to TAZARA, which is otherwise, a potentially viable company and we insist that the authority must stand on its own going forward,” Ms. Muyaba said.

She said the board had directed the management to be proactive in handling operational challenges that faced the institution by coming up with a proper business plan, as well as a clear marketing strategy to retain customers.

Ms Muyaba said the board also directed management to institute a re-training programme for all employees in order to enhance performance.

“In this regard, the board directed management to begin to show pro-activeness in handling all operational challenges and should henceforth present to the board a bankable business plan as well as preparing a clear marketing strategy to retain the current customers, win back old customers, as well as win new customers.

“The board has also directed management to institute a re-training programme for all employees in order to enhance the performance of the authority’s human resources and consider the possibility of inviting the private sector to invest and manage the Dar es Salaam Commuter Train, which is currently a very popular service that is alleviating the transport challenges in the city but loss-making,” she said.

Among other directives given to management, the authority is to decentralise its operations to avoid delays in implementing directives which had a negative effect on the effective running of the institution.

Further, the board introduced austerity cuts in expenditure amounting to 50% of management’s spending proposals.

The board hopes that as a result of the cut, the authority would make a net operating profit of US$1,689,544.00 from total projected revenue of US$45,808,960.00 against the total expenditure of US$43,619,416.00 for the Financial Year 2015/2016.