THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) expects financial closure on the $400 million recapitalisation deal with the Diaspora Investment Development Group (DIDG)/Transnet Consortium by June 2018, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Speaking at the commissioning of the railway equipment leased by NRZ from Transnet, NRZ general manager, Lewis Mukwada said the equipment, commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday, was not procured using the $400 million.
“The equipment that we have today is to close the gap while we progress negotiations towards financial closure. As NRZ, we have been failing to uplift all the chrome ore and ferrochrome that chrome miners have wanted to export outside the country, among other business lines,” Mukwada said.
“When all the equipment has been received, we would be able to uplift an additional 100 000 tonnes a month with this equipment that we are receiving, which will generate an additional $1,1 million a month as revenue to NRZ.”
Mnangagwa urged the parties in the deal to move swiftly to conclude outstanding matters for a win-win outcome.
“I urge all concerned parties to move swiftly, and meticulously to conclude outstanding matters for a win-win outcome. Meanwhile, I would like to invite others in the Diaspora to emulate this sterling gesture and invest in other projects in various sectors of our economy to accelerate the rebuilding and development of our nation,” he said
“It is my hope that with rehabilitated infrastructure and better equipment, NRZ will be able to run dependable and consistent passenger train schedules.
We should dream of an era where our major cities are connected through punctual, fast and efficient passenger train service.”
Transport minister Joram Gumbo said by April 2018, all the equipment would have been delivered into the country.
The equipment, comprising 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and 34 coaches, is being leased from South African rail utility, Transnet and DIDG Consortium.
Yesterday, Mnangagwa commissioned seven locomotives, 150 wagons and seven coaches.
Gumbo said the government needed to urgently capitalise NRZ because its infrastructure had outlived its economic lifespan.
NRZ board chairman, Larry Mavima said the parastatal had ceased being a problem for the government.
The DIDG/Transnet consortium won a bid to partner NRZ in the $400 million recapitalisation project.
The project will involve the rehabilitation and renewal of plant, equipment, rolling stock, signalling and telecommunications infrastructure and the supporting information technology systems.
The project will also see the repairing and rehabilitation of infrastructure and equipment such as locomotives, wagons and coaches, as well as phased modernisation of train control system.
The rail parastatal is targeting to move four million tonnes of freight in 2018, up 25% from last year’s figures on the back of service level agreements signed with key customers.
Last year, NRZ signed a deal with Zimasco and CFM of Mozambique, which saw the parastatal moving about one million tonnes of chrome annually from the Great Dyke to the ports of Beira and Maputo along the Mozambican rail network.