NRZ to turn around fortunes

HARARE - National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is set to hold its annual stakeholders consultative workshop on Friday, aimed at interacting and exchanging ideas to revive the parastatal’s operations.

Company spokesperson Fanuel Masikati said this year’s workshop is meant to create a platform for open discussions and consultations with all stakeholders to review and revitalise its operations.

“Information obtained from the consultation process will also enable us to reflect on our past performance as well as plan for the organisation’s ensuing year operational activities,” said Masikati.

The revival of the parastatal’s operations is key to the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy and restoration of the country’s erstwhile status as the breadbasket of sub-Saharan Africa.

Lack of adequate capital injections has hampered efforts to revive the company which has failed to pay its 7 000-strong member workforce over the past five months owing to government ineptitude.  

Masikati recently said that the company suspended recruitment and the replacement of retirees or employees who died.

NRZ needs $400 million to upgrade its infrastructure, as it tries to boost its cargo carriage from the about 6,4 million metric tonnes of goods it is forecast to move this year.

Masikati said that the parastatal had paid a $2,9 million deposit to China North Railway Limited for locomotives that have not yet been delivered because the government has not guaranteed $29 million loan.

The workshop is being held at a time when government is considering setting up a railway regulatory authority to formulate, monitor and evaluate the railways industry and restructure the railway company.

Under the proposed turn around strategy for the NRZ, the loss-making entity would be unbundled into three companies dealing with infrastructure, freight and passenger services, whose operations and management will be totally divorced from each other. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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