NRZ read­ies to move more grain Em­barks on wagon re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

THE Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe (NRZ) has em­barked on a wagon re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme with about 60 wag­ons set for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion paras­tatal po­si­tions im­ports.

Zim­babwe is suf­fer­ing the im­pact of a drought caused by the El-Nino phe­nom­e­non. This has prompted the Gov­ern­ment to im­port maize from South Africa, Zam­bia this quar­ter as the it­self to move grain and South Amer­ica.

Zim­babwe needs slightly above 1,3 mil­lion tonnes of maize an­nu­ally.

NRZ board chair­man Mr Larry Mav­ima in an in­ter­view yes­ter­day said:

“We’ve em­barked on a pro­gramme to re­fur­bish our wag­ons to im­prove our ef­fi­ciency as we move grain into the coun­try.

“Dur­ing this quar­ter, we’ll re­fur­bish about 60 wag­ons and five diesel lo­co­mo­tives.

“The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the wag­ons is be­ing done through two Public-Pri­vate Part­ner­ship ar­range­ments that NRZ re­cently en­tered with some lo­cal com­pa­nies.”

Since the be­gin­ning of the grain im­por­ta­tion pro­gramme by the Gov­ern­ment early this year, NRZ has so far moved more than 200 000 tonnes of maize and is tar­get­ing to move be­tween 700 000 tonnes and one mil­lion tonnes.

The Gov­ern­ment has, due to the drought, been forced to re­duce its eco­nomic growth fore­cast for this year to 1,5 per­cent from the ini­tial pro­jec­tion of 3.2 per­cent.

In June, the United Na­tions World Food Pro­gramme said out­put in Zim­babwe would fall be­low 60 per­cent of the five-year av­er­age of be­tween 700,000 and one mil­lion tonnes.

“Due to grain im­ports in the coun­try, as the rail­ways we’ve of late be­come a bit busy. And we think the maize im­ports that are com­ing through should keep us as NRZ go­ing up to about Novem­ber.

“We’ve just moved 10 000 tonnes of grain that came through Beira and Ma­puto corridors re­cently.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to mov­ing an­other 10 000 tonnes soon.”

The ail­ing paras­tatal re­quires about $1,9 bil­lion in the long-term to fully re­cap­i­talise its op­er­a­tions. It is strug­gling to off­set its legacy debt of about $144 mil­lion owed to var­i­ous cred­i­tors.

Last month, Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Dr Jo­ram Gumbo said NRZ has at­tracted a num­ber of po­ten­tial in­vestors across the globe in­clud­ing Europe and Asia to part­ner it in re­sus­ci­tat­ing its op­er­a­tions. — @okazunga

Mr Larry Mav­ima

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