Govt orders NRZ to source new capital

Nqobile Tshili

GOVERNMENT has instructed the National Railways of Zimbabwe to expeditiously flight fresh tenders for the recapitalisation project of the parastatal.

The directive follows the cancellation of the recent decision by Cabinet to revoke the US$400 million NRZ recapitalisation deal by the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)-Transnet Consortium.

Speaking during the parastatal’s strategic workshop in Matopos this week, Transport and Infrastructural Development Permanent   Secretary Engineer Amos Marawa, said it was sad to note the lack of progress on the NRZ recapitalisation programme, following the cancellation of the DIDG/Transnet Consortium deal.

“I urge you to urgently finalise the matter and proceed as directed by Cabinet.

As I indicated earlier, our guiding blueprint for this period is the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and this is one of the success factors identified by Government.

It is thus critical to point out Government’s view and the need to continue addressing the challenges at NRZ,” he said.

The DIDG/Transnet Consortium was awarded the tender by the then State Procurement Board in August 2017 for the revival of NRZ’s operations.

Eng Marawa said the development of the rail sector was critical in Zimbabwe for the achievement of the goals of national plans.

“Whether it is a discussion about rising cost of transportation, the efficiency of the network systems, increasing efficiency or the growth in certain sectors, the issues are key to many policy discussions nationwide.

“Recognising this increased interest in the sector, it is important that we consider the key policy interventions as defined in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (October 2019 to December 2020) and the succeeding National Development Plan for the period 2021-2025,” he said.

Eng Marawa said it was Government’s view that through contributions from sectors such as the rail sector, the country would be able to attain the goals and aspirations of achieving a middle-income economy status by 2030.

He noted that the past two decades have seen an increase in road traffic density with people and industry preferring use of road transport due to its quick turnaround nature.

“However, the increase in road traffic density has resulted in the deterioration in the condition of the round infrastructure as well as numerous accidents leading to loss of lives and freight. This calls for adequate interventions for the recapitalisation programme and streamlining of operations to allow for efficiency in the rail sector,” said Eng Marawa.

He said Government acknowledges the challenges NRZ is facing and a direction and sustainable means of addressing the challenges facing the entity can be established.

“The existing infrastructure continues to deteriorate thereby crippling the entity.

As you deliberate on the organisation’s strategic direction Government expects, that you shall take into account guided by Government’s aspirations vis-à-vis the NRZ including contribution towards the country’s achievement of an upper middle class status by 2030, moving of the majority of bulk goods from road to rail movement, safe and timely reliable intercity and urban commuter movement of passengers by rail,” he said.

In a bid to address some of the challenges in State Enterprises and Parastatals, Government is in the process of carrying out institutional reforms aimed at streamlining operations and creating of commercialisation and privatisation in its institutions.

For this to be successful, Eng Marawa said entities such as NRZ and RMS (Pvt) Ltd (Road Motor Services) have had limited autonomy.

“As such once Cabinet approves the separation of NRZ and RMS (Pvt) Ltd, the board will be full seized with the matter, including creation of an amicable separation of systems and assets,” he said.

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