via Govt needs $460m to revive NRZ | Radio Dialogue July 24, 2014
GOVERNMENT, in consultation with other institutions, is in the process of engaging a bank to fund the resuscitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to the tune of $460 million.
NRZ, once the epicentre of the southern African rail network and transport system, has been struggling with its operations due to underfunding and obsolete equipment.
Contributing to a panel discussion on creating optimal enablers for the development of the mining sector at the ongoing Mine Entra, Permanent Secretary of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Munesu Munodawafa confirmed the transport ministry was vigorously pursing the rehabilitation of the parastatal.
Other panelists had pointed out transport was an important factor in mining development with Munodawafa appreciating the fact, saying transportation could be both a key enabler and constraint in the mining sector, as the movement of input and outputs depended on good infrastructure.
The permanent secretary pointed out the transport ministry was involved in partnerships with some institutions to revive the country’s rail network
“The country’s rail is supposed to be operational but it is not working which is a struggle. The ministry is involved in low level discussion with key institutions and by end of July we will be formally engaging a bank to source funds,” he said.
“If the engagements are successful, the ministry is looking at acquiring an injection of $460 million. This would be used for signalling the rail network, fixing the telecommunication system and purchasing of locomotives and wagons,” the perm sec said.
Munodawafa said by August 30, the transport ministry anticipated it would have finalised the deal.
“This would see some action and after two and a half months, we would be able to transcend to high level agreements. The phase will take three years and needs support from stakeholders,” he said.
Touching on the road network, Munodawafa said cabinet has of yesterday (Tuesday) approved plans that will see a “clear programme” rolled out to fix the country’s roads.
“There had been questions on why government chose to start with the Plumtree to Mutare road instead of the Harare to Beitbridge road. The Plumtree to Mutare road is the only road that touches eight of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces. It goes through all cities except Masvingo. It internally provides connectivity and props the Zimbabwean economy.
“When we received a loan to fix a major road, we had to make a decision therefore we considered these factors. We hope to receive another loan for the Harare to Beitbridge road,” he said.
On aviation, the perm sec said a new airliner would fly into Zimbabwe and land in Harare on August 5 adding on the existing airplanes flying into the country.