Source: NRZ workers to get salaries – Sunday News Feb 25, 2018
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) will channel part of the royalties obtained from its joint venture arrangements towards settling its outstanding debts including its employees’ salary backlog, a Cabinet official said.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said NRZ was part of the critical State Enterprises which includes Air Zimbabwe, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) and Ziscosteel whose debts were assumed by Government last year as part of accelerated efforts to make the entities attractive to potential investment suitors.
“We have always said that as we enter into negotiations with investors for the revival of NRZ, Air Zimbabwe and Caaz we will take over their debts including salary backlogs and we liquidate their debts through Government,” said Dr Gumbo.
NRZ owes its employees over $80 million in outstanding salaries while debts have ballooned to over $150 million.
“As for NRZ royalties from the joint ventures will be used to liquidate their debt and I am also glad to say that since I took over as the Minister NRZ has been managing to partly pay their salaries and what the workers should be concerned about at the moment is the revival of NRZ,” said Dr Gumbo.
Diaspora Investment Development Group (DIDG) executive chairman, Mr Donovan Chimhandamba also acknowledged that Government had assumed the NRZ debt and reiterated that royalties to be paid by DIDG /Transnet Consortium would be used in settling part of the parastatal’s arrears.
“Government has assumed that (NRZ) debt and through our royalty structure, which they will get from our operations, NRZ will be given money by Government as well as through various structures but they will have to repay the Government. They will use those royalty fees to service that debt, so our structure has enabled Government to provide, to be able to put together some funding that will settle that debt including the employees (outstanding salaries),” said Mr Chimhandamba.
Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned a consignment of 157 wagons, seven locomotives and seven coaches for the NRZ, marking a giant step towards the country’s revival of the railway system and the economy.
The development follows a $400 million deal struck between the NRZ, a South African firm Transnet and DIDG.-@DNsingo