Elections delay NRZ recapitalisation

HARARE - National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has attributed its failure to finalise its $400 million recapitalisation deal on time due to the election season.

Zimbabwe has for the past months been engrossed to the July 30 harmonised election such that business in many sectors was grossly affected.

The rail transport parastatal was not spared as the much awaited recapitalisation deal to rehabilitate the company’s operations got delayed as a result.

NRZ public relations Nyasha Maravanyika told Southern News that all the processes on the deal were held back.

“We are still waiting for the $400 million recapitalisation deal which will cover the rehabilitation of infrastructure and equipment that includes telecommunication systems as well as modernisation of train control systems,” he said.

“The deal was supposed to have been finalised in July but we are now expecting it by end of year. The negotiations have already resumed, that is why we are saying we expect the financial closure of the deal before the end of the year,” he said.

NRZ is set to implement a rehabilitation programme of its infrastructure following the signing of a $400 million recapitalisation initiative between the parastatal and its investor, Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)/Transnet last year.

Financial closure of the investment is set to pave way for repair and rehabilitation of infrastructure and equipment that includes telecommunication systems as well as modernisation of train control systems.

As part of an interim solution to capacitate NRZ, the parastatal early last year received the first batch of equipment comprising 150 wagons, seven locomotives and seven passenger coaches from DIDG/Transnet.

Operational capacity at NRZ had largely been impacted negatively by the unfavourable economic climate Zimbabwe was reeling under for close to two decades.

During its glory days in the 1990s, the strategic logistics company used to move 18 million tonnes of freight annually but the figure has plummeted to 3,1 million tonnes in 2017.

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