Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has acquired a fleet of 57 vehicles at a cost of US$ 1,5 million meant to transform the operational landscape of the organisation.
The vehicles, 12 eight tonne lorries, 17 motor cycles, 17 operational single cab pick-up trucks and Honda Fit, four operational minibuses and seven for the executive management were commissioned by the Transport and Infrastructural Development Deputy Minister Mike Madiro and the Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube on Friday at the NRZ Westgate Security Training School in Bulawayo.
In her speech, Minister Ncube said it was encouraging to see progress that NRZ had done in a short period of time.
“It is encouraging and gives hope to see Government’s efforts towards reviving the NRZ. Three months ago, in March we all mapped the roadmap on reviving this organisation in different progressive phases. I remember the board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha promising me that this vision will not be fulfilled by talking but by cutting ribbons on achievements. And we are back here at NRZ to witness progress on the work before us which is to revive the organisation,” she said.
She said NRZ was starting on a right footing in the revival battle with the management resourcing its system with utility operational vehicles. Minister Ncube expressed hope that the vehicles would transform the operational landscape of the NRZ especially in dealing with derailments as well as ensuring train crews were transported for duty on time.
“This should improve the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness for the convenience of its clients. May l also appeal to the users of these vehicles to ensure they guard them jealously and increase their life span for the benefit of the organisation,” she said.
She commended the work being done by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development together with the NRZ board and management in reviving the institution, saying the restructuring process, recapitalization project and welfare programmes for workers were very important.
Deputy Minister Madiro said infrastructure development was important for the country’s economy as the nation moves towards the attainment of President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030.
“In order to achieve that vision, every sector of the economy is dependent on infrastructure state of affairs. Without infrastructure in the form of roads we will not make the vision a reality, hence let us combine forces to make this a success,” he said.
Deputy Minister Madiro noted that recapitalisation of the NRZ was in line with the NDS1 and the Ministry was committed to support the parastatal throughout its revival journey. NRZ board chairman Advocate Dinha said as an organisation they appreciated Government’s commitment in funding them to be able to resuscitate the parastatal.
“This year we received an allocation of $200 million for the purposes of supporting NRZ activities. Government in a Cabinet briefing, also committed to refurbish 100 wagons and procure additional wagons. It also promised to improve cargo handling capacity by acquiring 45 coaches this year while the rail track will be rehabilitated in order to remove speed restrictions across 290 kilometres over a period of five years. This will go a long way in turning around the organisation,” said Adv Dinha.
To achieve a turnaround, at the NRZ Strategic Plan launch in March, the parastatal said it was in need of at least 40 locomotives, 300 wagons and 300 coaches. One locomotive is estimated to costs around US$3 million, while 40 of them will cost around US$120 million.