Yesterday marked a new chapter in the revival of the National Railway of Zimbabwe when the parastatal received the first batch of locomotives, wagons and coaches leased from South Africa’s rail company, Transnet.
The seven locomotives, 150 wagons and seven coaches were received by the President, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, on behalf of the NRZ at a ceremony held at the NRZ headquarters in Bulawayo which was attended by senior government officials from both South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as representatives of the private sector.
Under the agreement between NRZ and the Diaspora Investment Development Group (DIDG) Transnet Consortium, NRZ will lease 13 locomotives, 200 wagons and 34 coaches from Transnet as part of measures to capacitate the parastatal. The leasing of the equipment is part of the $400 million recapitalisation deal sealed between the Zimbabwe Government, Transnet and DIDG.
The interim solution equipment will enable the NRZ to boost its capacity to move freight while it awaits the conclusion of the $400 million recapitalisation deal. The leased equipment will be replaced by new equipment as the NRZ has already ordered new locomotives and wagons expected to be delivered in the next 18 months.
The recapitalisation of the NRZ is key to the country’s industrialisation programme. The improved efficiency of the NRZ will enable industries to move bulk cargo by rail as opposed to road and this will drastically reduce transport costs. The implementation of the NRZ revival programme is one of the many positives registered since the coming in of the Cde Mnangagwa-led Government more than three month ago.
In his speech yesterday, Cde Mnangagwa said it was important for Government to practically demonstrate that Zimbabwe is indeed open for business by rehabilitating infrastructure such as the road network and the rail system. He said Zimbabwe’s infrastructure should confirm to potential investors that the country is ready for investment.
It is encouraging to note that Zimbabweans in the diaspora are taking the lead in investing in the country which will go a long away in boosting investor confidence. What is also in Zimbabwe’s favour is that the new political dispensation has been endorsed by many international organisations and individual countries.
The African Union, the European Union, Sadc and countries such as China and Britain have said they are ready to work with the new leadership in improving the people’s welfare. Cde Mnangagwa’s Government has demonstrated in the short period it has been in office that it is committed to addressing developmental and economic issues as opposed to just politicking.
The President has said the party and Government is focusing more on productivity as it moves away from too much politicking. Cde Mnangagwa said Bulawayo should retain its status of being the country’s industrial hub hence Government’s commitment to reviving the NRZ whose improved efficiency will positively impact on many industries.
We want at this juncture to call on foreign investors to take advantage of the prevailing conducive investment environment and partner Zimbabweans to exploit the abundant natural resources.