BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
GOVERNMENT has ordered the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) management to flight fresh tenders for the parastatal’s recapitalisation programme following the cancellation of the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)-Transnet Consortium deal.
The US$400 million DIDG-Transnet deal to recapitalise the NRZ was cancelled last year by government as the major shareholder after the group ostensibly “failed” to comply with contractual timelines.
Addressing an NRZ strategic planning workshop in Bulawayo on Monday, Transport and Infrastructural Development secretary Amos Marawa said there was need for the management to move with speed and re-tender the project.
“It is sad to note the lack of progress on the recapitalisation programme following the cancellation of the DIDG/Transnet Consortium. I urge you to urgently finalise the matter and proceed as directed by Cabinet,” he said.
“As I indicated earlier, our guiding blueprint for this period is the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and this is one of the success factors identified by government. It is thus critical to point out government’s view and the need to continue addressing the challenges at NRZ.”
The DIDG/Transnet Consortium was awarded the tender by the then State Procurement Board in August 2017 for the revival of NRZ’s operations.
But the group, according to government, failed to comply with contractual timelines, leading to the cancellation of the deal.
Government also argued that there were legal complications following DIDG’s decision to cut ties with South Africa’s publicly-owned rail operator, Transnet, which was part of the consortium.
DIDG has since threatened to sue government for breach of agreement.
Marawa said government acknowledged the challenges the entity was facing and believed “we can come up with a direction and sustainable means of addressing these challenges. The existing infrastructure continues to deteriorate thereby crippling the entity.”
He said the development of the rail sector was a critical component of the country’s national development agenda.
“Whether it is a discussion about rising cost of transportation, the efficiency of the network systems, increasing efficiency or the growth in certain sectors, the issues are key to many policy discussions nationwide,” he said.
Government is in the process of carrying out parastatal reforms so that they contribute positively to the national coffers.