MPs advocate local funding of NRZ revival
THE Government can generate local capital to revive the struggling National Railways of Zimbabwe through leveraging on bulk movement of goods such as minerals and maize imports, a parliamentary committee has said.
With an estimated 30 million tonnes of chrome ore expected to be exported following the lifting of a ban on the mineral exports, NRZ can realise at least $2 billion in the short to medium-term, if it moves the bulk of the cargo.
NRZ needs at least $700 million to retool and become competitive.
Transport and Infrastructure Development parliamentary committee chairperson Cde Dexter Nduna, said bulk importation of maize under the drought mitigation programme presented an opportunity for the revival of NRZ.
“If we can have a deliberate policy to approach bulk movers like Hwange Colliery and the Grain Marketing Board so that they can move at least 20 percent of their cargo through rail, it will go a long way in resuscitating the NRZ,” said Cde Nduna.
“We welcome the move by Government to lift the ban on chrome ore exports as a panacea to the resuscitation and reinvestment in NRZ.”
The committee’s call comes at a time when the Government is working on a Statutory Instrument to ban bulk movement of goods on the country’s roads with rail expected to play a major role.
This is, however, set to put the Government on a collision course with haulage truck operators who had established a thriving niche, while the bulk of transit cargo on the North-South corridor is moved by road.
At its peak, NRZ used to move around 20 million tonnes of goods through its nearly 3 000km rail network, but this has since plummeted to around 3,5 million tonnes per year.
He said NRZ could selfcapitalise or at least meet the bigger chunk needed to recapitalise and buy new