For­eign firms keen to re­cap­i­talise NRZ Paras­tatal sets up re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion steer­ing com­mit­tee

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

THE Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe (NRZ) has set up a steer­ing com­mit­tee to over­see the paras­tatal’s re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme.

The NRZ, which in re­cent years has failed to op­er­ate prof­itably due to un­der­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion and age­ing equip­ment, needs about $400 mil­lion in the short-to long-term.

The paras­tatal re­quires about $1,9 bil­lion in the long-term to be fully re­vi­talised and trans­formed.

The firm’s board chair­man Mr Larry Mav­ima said:

“As you might be aware, fol­low­ing my ap­point­ment as board chair­man in March this year, the re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of NRZ was one of my pri­or­i­ties.

“We’ve ba­si­cally es­tab­lished a steer­ing com­mit­tee to over­see the re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­gramme for NRZ and we’ll be ready to go into the mar­ket early De­cem­ber to put a re­quest for pro­posal and project in­for­ma­tion mem­o­ran­dum.

“And af­ter three months, we’ll then close the ten­der be­fore go­ing through the ad­ju­di­ca­tion process and as the NRZ board and man­age­ment, we’ll also make and sub­mit our rec­om­men­da­tions to Govern­ment.

“We hope by April next year, the Govern­ment will an­nounce the in­vestor to part­ner NRZ.”

He said sev­eral com­pa­nies from China, one from Egypt and Dubai had shown keen in­ter­est in re­cap­i­tal­is­ing the paras­tatal.

Op­tions avail­able for NRZ re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion in­clude Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship, Build Op­er­ate Trans­fer and debt eq­uity trans­fer, joint ven­ture, a loan or a com­bi­na­tion of the above.

As part of the turnaround strat­egy spear­headed by Mr Mav­ima, the rail­ways com­pany has also ac­quired 31 state-of-theart wag­ons to the tune of $3 mil­lion from China un­der its broader re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme.

At present, the NRZ has 168 lo­co­mo­tives with 64 of that fig­ure be­ing ser­vice­able and only 3 467 of its 7 255 wag­ons are oper­a­tional.

“A week af­ter my ap­point­ment, NRZ em­barked on an in­dus­trial strike that lasted for 76 days.

“As board and man­age­ment, we’re work­ing tire­lessly to turn around the for­tunes of the com­pany.

“Our busi­ness has also been boosted by the grain im­por­ta­tion pro­gramme the Govern­ment has em­barked on.

“Since April this year, we’ve moved in ex­cess of 270 000 tonnes of maize imports that have come through Beira and Ma­puto,” Mr Mav­ima said.

The com­pany’s turnaround strat­egy also re­lates to right­siz­ing em­ploy­ees in re­la­tion to busi­ness avail­able.

It is be­lieved that the right­siz­ing of NRZ’s work­force will only be im­ple­mented af­ter re­sults of a foren­sic au­dit be­ing car­ried out by an in­de­pen­dent au­di­tor have been es­tab­lished.

“At its peak, the rail­ways em­ployed nearly 20 000 work­ers and moved 18 mil­lion tonnes of freight an­nu­ally.

Its work­force 5 700.

The com­pany is now mov­ing less than 100 000 tonnes of freight per week fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the lo­cal in­dus­try. — @okazunga is presently at about

Mr Larry Mav­ima

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