MPs ad­vo­cate lo­cal fund­ing of NRZ re­vival

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Wal­ter Nya­mukondiwa Chin­hoyi Bu­reau

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

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