Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
THE Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG) says it is now ready to implement the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) recapitalisation programme following the decision by the board to approve the US$420 million proof of funding.
DIDG executive chairman Mr Donovan Chimhandamba told The Herald from his Johannesburg, South Africa, base yesterday that as investors, they are encouraged by the NRZ board’s “positive decision”.
“As the Diaspora and DIDG, we are encouraged by the positive move that the NRZ board has taken in its resolution to now move ahead with us and engage the Ministry of Finance (and Economic Development) with the aim to finalise the funding and conclude the Joint Venture Agreement,” he said.
“The deal has taken far too long to move forward due to bureaucracies, but at least, finally, we now can move to implementation. “The NRZ employees and customers have suffered the most while we try to conclude the deal and we need to ensure we no longer allow any unnecessary blockages.”
Mr Chimhandamba said the NRZ board resolution was clear and in line with the Joint Venture Act and Cabinet resolutions of 2017 and 2019 awarding and extending the tender.
He said they will now engage the Joint Venture Unit and Ministry of Finance, with the Afreximbank and other institutional investors to ensure they sign the JV Agreement “without further delay and start the business of turning around NRZ”.
“As Diasporans and in line with the Government’s ease of doing business and National Diaspora Policy, we are pleased by the Government’s direct efforts to remove obstacles that may impede our ability to execute the project with the urgency it deserves,” he said.
A statement signed by NRZ board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha after Monday’s NRZ board meeting indicates that the board approved the proof of payment that DIDG has given to Government as evidence that it has obtained funding from Afreximbank.
“. . . a meeting of the NRZ board was held on 9 September 2019 to consider the report from the Special Joint Plenary meeting and resolved to recommend to Government that; the offer/proof of US$420 million funding from the DIDG through Afreximbank be referred to Treasury to pursue and consider, inter alia, the availability of the said funding.
“The NRZ should await guidance from Treasury, on the availability of the funding where after, subject to such guidance as may be given by Treasury, the project be progressed in terms of the provisions of the Joint Ventures Act as previously directed by Cabinet communicated to NRZ through the letter from the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development dated 16 October 2017 to the NRZ,” reads Adv Dinha’s statement.