THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) requires about $1,9 billion in the long-term to be fully revitalised and transformed, Southern Eye Business has established.
In an interview with Southern Eye Business NRZ board chairperson Engineer Alvord Mabena said his board was already engaging relevant stakeholders in trying to find a solution to problems facing the troubled parastatal.
“The NRZ, in its long-term plan, requires about $1,9 billion to be fully revitalised and transformed. In the short term, the NRZ needs $460 million to restore the infrastructure and equipment to acceptable level,” Mabena said.
“It is worth noting that various initiatives will be put in place to pursue means of securing investors that will fund the recapitalisation of the NRZ infrastructure and other critical equipment and resources. I am positive that some negotiations with potential financiers will be successfully concluded, a development which should see the NRZ being capacitated in order to meet the demands and expectations of stakeholders,” he added.
Mabena said their approach as the NRZ board would be to engage all stakeholders in trying to address critical areas that affect the performance of the rail transporter. He said it was common knowledge that the current liquidity crunch in the country as well as the world economic recession had affected most companies, including the NRZ.
He added that the issue of the inter-parastatal debt of more than $20 million owed to NRZ by parastatals such as Grain Marketing Board and Zimbabwe Power Company was exacerbated by the depressed macroeconomic environment, which has seen most companies failing to service their debts.
“We shall, therefore, work together with the government and management to negotiate for terms aimed at reducing the parastatal debt. I confirm that some arrangements have already been put in place with other customers that owe the NRZ to reduce the amount owed to the organisation.” Mabena said.
“Meanwhile, on the revival of the NRZ, we share a common vision with the government, management and employees in implementing a revitalisation programme that will alter the way the NRZ does business and prepare it to face today’s challenges.”
The former NRZ general manager said it was pertinent to realise the parastatal’s transformation would be a process which cannot be done overnight.
Addressing delegates recently at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha said the NRZ and New ZimSteel were key to Bulawayo’s revival.