THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is finalising plans to auction 30 0000 tonnes of scrap metal estimated to fetch over $10 million as part of efforts to raise working capital.
NRZ acting general manager Lewis Mukwada told Southern Eye Business that the auction of scrap metal was tendered last year and the company was finalising the adjudication process expected to be completed sometime this year.
“There was huge interest from both local and foreign participants when we floated the tender. We are finalising the adjudication process this year and then we award the tender,” said Mukwanda.
The sale of the scrap metal is expected to ease the burden on the troubled NRZ which has been struggling to pay its employees with salary arrears of over $49 million, among other operational hurdle’s.
NRZ last week handed over a project report to potential investors during a Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce tour targeting to raise over $40 million in the short term to finance operations.
The parastatal, among other urgent projects, is looking for $28 million to rehabilitee an overhead catenary system between Gweru and Harare.
The project would involve running of conductors and installation of support systems to allow the movement of electric locomotives and reduce fuel costs.
The other urgent project entails the refurbishment of coaches to argument the current serviceable fleet at an estimated cost of $40 000 per coach.
NRZ is also looking for close to $1,4 million to purchase spares required for the refurbishment of a stabled shunt and mainline locomotives.
The once-thriving massive railway station in Bulawayo is now surrounded by rusty, smelly and run-down coaches and wagons scattered all over the place — a confirmation that the parastatal is in the doldrums. The State railway firm currently has about 65 locomotives, 3 271 wagons, nine cabooses and 158 coaches against the optimum average requirement of 83 locomotives, 4 262 wagons, 17 cabooses and 145 coaches to run the company viably.
The decline in industry capacity has also seen a reduction in business volumes for NRZ.
In the long term, NRZ needs $2 billion to fully recover, but has been failing to attract financiers largely due to a weak balance sheet and huge debts.