Source: $6bn needed for railway line modernisation: Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 4, 2016
The country is still using railway lines constructed during the colonial era and $6 billion is needed to modernise the infrastructure, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
By Stephen Chadenga
The figure is well above the country’s national budget, which is just below $4 billion.
Mnangagwa said the railway network was outdated and required to be modernised, if the transport system was to be economically competitive.
“We have a system of railway lines that is colonial and $6 billion is needed to modernise the network,” he said at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Midlands chapter meeting in Gweru this week.
Mnangagwa said the railway system needed to be re-integrated with others in the region for it to be effective.
He said, if the country was to industrialise there was need to focus on modern technology.
“Our companies must be persuaded to modernise, have state-of-art machinery and information and communication technology,” he said.
In 2014, the National Railways of Zimbabwe tabled proposals to construct the Harare-Chitungwiza urban railway system estimated at a cost of more than $400 million, although the project is yet to start.
The parastatal also has plans for new domestic railway lines and others linking the country with other countries in the Sadc region, but financial constraints have stalled these projects.
Critics, however, said the government is broke and incapacitated to implement developmental projects, as it is failing to attract direct foreign lines of credit.
NRZ owes its more than 4 000 employees over 15 months’ salaries, amounting to $87 million and the workers have been on strike since March, demanding their dues.
They recently rejected $330 each offered to them to abandon the strike.