THE Zambian government has this week disbursed ZK30 billion in response to Tazara management's request for five million US dollars as working capital. Both Tanzania and Zambia are supposed to contribute money to the fund. Mr Panji Kaunda, the Zambian Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, has re-affirmed this. Zambia was fully behind the June 2012 Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) Council of Ministers decision to support Tazara management and workers in efforts to raise working capital to boost customer services. Mr Kaunda, who has been in Dar es Salaam to confer with the Tanzania Government through Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, the Tanzanian Minister of Transport, announced that the Zambian government's 2012 Budget provision of K45.5 billion in the 2012 Budget has now been fully disbursed. "Out of this ZK10.5 billion is for the liquidation of historical debts to pension managers of Tazara, K20 billion is a grant towards capital expenditure and K15 billion is for meeting recapitalisation and operational support costs shared with the Tanzanian government," the deputy minister elaborated. In welcoming this development, Tazara Managing Director, Mr Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, said "this is great material encouragement for management's customer-service plans financed by both shareholders and customers contributing to working capital and paving the way to the revitalization of Tazara." "This is the surest way of breaking out of unattainable hand-to-mouth operations as well as sustaining enhanced levels of train traffic business and it is a solid endorsement of management's evolving new business model based on engaging customers in mobilising working capital and attracting capacity-building investment. It is just great when shareholders are leading this necessary working capital build-up through putting public resources in fulfillment of what they have promised," said Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika. On Sunday (August 12, 2012), Dr Mwakyembe announced that the government of Tanzania has agreed to pay TAZARA workers 1.3bn/- to cover two months of salary arrears on a loan basis. Mr Mbikusita-Lewanika, noted that this was another welcome positive step and Tazara was looking forward to further support from the two shareholding governments. On this particular visit to Tanzania, Mr Kaunda said that "we have had a good exchange of views with Minister Mwakyembe on Tazara and it is the intention that such consultation shall be frequent, regular and involving all the various levels of the Tazara governance structure in order to consolidate relations that are proper and mutually supportive between Tanzanian and Zambian employees as well as between the governments and management and between management and employees of Tazara.