NRZ injects $50m in railway line refurbishment

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National Railways of Zimbabwe train

THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has injected nearly $50 million towards the refurbishment of its railway line, locomotives and diesel engines since last year, NewsDay has learnt.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

NRZ board chairperson Larry Mavima told this paper last week that part of the refurbishments were carried out using funds raised from the parastatal’s various projects.

“Last year, we invested close to $20 million from our own resources to improve infrastructure, rolling stock and tractive power.

For 2017, our budget is at $32 million from own resources to refurbish and recapilatise the business,” he said.

NRZ has suffered derailments and at times struggled to deliver goods on time, owing to a poor railway network ravaged by years of neglect and made worse by the heavy rains that swept away most of the railway supporting infrastructure.

“We have prioritised the permanent way (railway line) particularly those corridors which are fairly busy, that is the Harare-Machipanda and Gweru to Chikwalakwala corridors.

Through the rapid results initiative that was started by Office of President and Cabinet, we have been able to remove at least 10km of speed restrictions and mind you these speed restrictions are not in one area. We started off with at least 10% of the total network, which is about 270km of speed restrictions, but we are now down to 130km,” Mavima said.

The NRZ, facing a $380m debt, obsolute equipment and restive workers, is waiting for the government to approve a $400m public-private partnership deal which could turn around the parastatal’s fortunes.