THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has engaged an international auditing firm to craft a turnaround strategy for the loss-making parastatal.
NRZ public relations manager Fanuel Masikati said the study was being conducted by Deloitte and Touche.
“The study is looking at NRZ’s overall work process with the view of optimising operational efficiencies,” he said.
The locomotive parastatal is struggling to pay employees that have gone for months without salaries, weighed down by declining business attributed to obsolete and ageing equipment.
At its peak, NRZ used to ferry goods in excess of 18 million tonnes in 1998. It has gone down to 3,7 million tonnes as of 2011.
NRZ currently has only 65 locomotives, 3 271 wagons and 158 coaches that are functional against a requirement of 83 locomotives, 4 262 wagons and 145 coaches.
According to the parastatal, $2 billion is required for the rehabilitation of the railway lines in the country over a 10-year period.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu recently said the parastatal required $260 million in the short term.
He said the NRZ turnaround programme would see the rehabilitation of tracks, signalling and communication equipment as well as the refurbishment of locomotives.
Mpofu said the parastatal intended to lay off 6 000 workers. NRZ has failed to pay packages to workers who have been laid off and currently failing to pay salaries.
NRZ was among the 10 parastatals earmarked for privatisation in 2009 when the government of national unity was formed including Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
However, the government plans did not materialise as the minister who was responsible for the turnaround strategy of the parastatals — then Gorden Moyo — said he did not have the tooth to bite.
Moyo is on record saying the restructuring process for parastatals was slow due to bureaucratic processes.