The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) on 13th March signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Food Program (WFP) for a Tshs.1.3 billion ($600,000) grant to renovate 40 cargo wagons.
WFP uses the TRC services to transport shipments for use in refugee camps and similar cargoes destined for Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan. The wagons will be part of TRC`s equipment used to transport WFP cargo at a concessional rate.
At the signing of the MoU was the TRC Director General, Masanja Kadogosa, the WFP Country Representative, Michael Danford and Isaac Kamwele, the Minister in charge of Works, Transport and Communication. The MoU states that WFP will disburse an amount of Tshs1.3 billion ($600,000), while the TRC will oversee the renovation work using its own experts and facilities.
Speaking after witnessing the signing of the MoU, Minister Kamwelwe said the support from the WFP will complement government efforts to revive operations of the corporation. `The government has already contributed Tshs.4 billion ($1.7 billion) towards renovation of 200 coaches and cargo wagons, and has renovated 40 wagons so far. Upon completion of renovation, TRC will have renovated 240 wagons, ` he said.
The minister further commended WFP for being a great partner in using the country`s railway to transport food to the neighboring countries, thus strengthening bilateral collaboration to improve Tanzania`s railway services to increase revenue.
On the other hand, the WFP country representative said since 2010, WFP had invested Tshs.8.2 trillion ($3.6 billion) in the country`s transport sector. He hinted that in the year 2019, WFP plans to procure between 120,000 and 160,000 tonnes of maize for transporting to Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. He summed up his speech by stating that WFP would continue supporting efforts of achieving economic targets established by the government.
TRC currently has 559 wagons where 469 are cargo wagons and 90 are tankers with the demand standing at more than 800 wagons. The corporation also has 328 covered wagons and 118 flat ones with demand standing at 300.
On January 5th, the WFP signed a contract to purchase 36,000 tonnes of maize at Tshs.20.7 billion ($9 million) from the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) for refugees in the west lying Kigoma Region.