BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) generated $76,5 million revenue in the first half of the year after moving about 1,3 million tonnes of freight, an official has said.
NRZ spokesperson Nyasha Maravanyika told NewsDay Business that in the first half of the year, they moved 1,3 million tonnes of freight, down 8% compared to the same period last year.
“So, in actual fact, we have performed below the year 2018 so far in the first six months. The reasons are basically the speculative nature of the economy, where it took time or maybe it is taking time for people to adjust to the current economic trends, where at one time we pegged our prices in US dollars and then SI 142 came in and it says that everything should be done in the Zimbabwe dollar or RTGS$ using the interbank exchange rate,” he said.
“If you look at it, the interbank exchange rate has been fluctuating time and again and this has affected us in our operations, especially in terms of getting the inputs for fixing our equipment. You know that we already have a lack of capacity in terms of equipment. We don’t have enough wagons, we don’t have enough locomotives.
“So, at the end of the day, that lack of capacity vis-a-vis the huge expenditure on spare parts and everything, definitely affects us, where we have experienced loco failures and also, in some cases, failing to meet our operational deadlines. So, basically, this has affected us.”
In terms of revenue, in the first half, NRZ generated $76,5 million.
“All in all, we generated $76 million in half year, but it’s difficult for us looking at the expenditure to then declare a profit or to say that we have done well because our expenditure is huge and it would be difficult for us to say there was any profit,” Maravanyika said.
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“The revenue collection doesn’t go hand in hand with the expenditure. The expenditure is far higher compared to the revenue that has been raked in.”
He said they were still targeting to move 4,2 million tonnes of cargo in 2019, “but looking at what has happened in our economy, it would be a mammoth task for us to reach that level but the target is still on and it hasn’t changed.”
Maravanyika said the only answer to their predicament was recapitalisation.
NRZ is finalising a $400 million recapitalisation deal with a consortium led by the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group and South Africa’s Transnet.
The deal will see investment taking place in track rehabilitation, acquisition of locomotives, wagons and information communication technology to enable the parastatal to increase freight volumes.