Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of rail sys­tem needs to be ex­pe­dited: VP

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Ray Bande in NYANGA

THE re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the coun­try’s rail­way sys­tem needs to be ex­pe­dited if the na­tion is to ef­fi­ciently ex­port its prod­ucts and earn the much needed for­eign cur­rency, Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa has said.

He said this while of­fi­cially open­ing the fifth Zim­babwe Build­ing Con­trac­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence in Nyanga yes­ter­day.

VP Mnan­gagwa said the state of the rail­way sys­tem in the coun­try was de­signed in the colo­nial era to suit the de­mands of that era.

“In­fra­struc­ture is the back­bone of any eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive. Ef­forts to re­cover the Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe are com­mend­able as this will even­tu­ally lead into the re­duc­tion in rail costs and ben­e­fit­ting in­dus­try at large. The cur­rent sys­tem was de­signed by the colo­nial sys­tem on the ba­sis of what they wanted to achieve.

“We must make sure we re­ha­bil­i­tate the cur­rent rail­way net­work and en­sure that we con­struct new rail­way lines. We must ad­just it to the needs of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion we are liv­ing in. One moved coal from Hwange, which is re­quired in Bin­dura or Chin­hoyi, but that has to go through Bu­l­awayo, Kwekwe then Harare un­til it reaches Chin­hoyi. Why take that long route when we can cut costs over years by con­struct­ing a rail­way line that con­nects Chin­hoyi and Hwange?

“Im­proved trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works re­duce the cost of do­ing busi­ness, link cross bor­der, and shorten de­liv­ery times, ex­tent global reach to inputs and sup­pli­ers. Just for in­stance, our rail­way in­fra­struc­ture cur­rently has ca­pac­ity to move about three mil­lion tonnes of chrome. If for in­stance, we want to grow the ex­por­ta­tion of chrome and coal, these are high vol­ume prod­ucts, then we would need to move about 18 to 30 mil­lion tonnes, which the ca­pac­ity of our rail­way can­not match.

“We said we could lift the ban on the ex­por­ta­tion of chrome. We have 12 en­ti­ties worth smelter ca­pac­ity. Then we were told by those who went to school that the ac­cessed vol­ume of chrome in the coun­try is in ex­cess of 30 bil­lion tonnes. If the rail­way ca­pac­ity is two mil­lion or so, let us give you 30 mil­lion tonnes, which means that it will take them 15 years to move 30 mil­lion tonnes. It is nec­es­sary to link de­vel­op­ment with an­cil­lary ser­vices.”

VP Mnan­gagwa also warned against fail­ure to mon­i­tor op­er­a­tions of in­vestors that come in the coun­try, es­pe­cially the Chi­nese.

“If you give a con­tract project to Chi­nese in­vestors, you have to be vig­i­lant. The Chi­nese will bring with them even labour and sand for the agreed project. You need to be awake and tell them wa­ter is here, labour is here and get from them what we do not have here. They are our all weather friends I know, and they can do good busi­ness with you only if you re­main vig­i­lant,” said the VP.

He also con­firmed that the con­struc­tion of the Beit­bridge-Harare-Chirundu Highy­way will see 40 per­cent of the re­quired ser­vices be­ing sourced lo­cally.

Speak­ing at the same func­tion, Min­is­ter of State for Man­i­ca­land Af­fairs Cde Mandi Chimene stressed the im­por­tance of the in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The theme of the con­fer­ence is: “Eco­nomic re­vival through in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.