THE financially troubled National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has ceded the maintenance and refurbishment of its wagons and locomotives to its clients, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week
The companies, which include Zimbabwe Sugar Sales, Zimasco, Bindura, Nickel Mine, Hippo Valley and Triangle Sugar Estates, have accepted the deal to rescue the ailing parastatal.
The NRZ last month failed to pay its workers their May salaries citing cashflow problems. The company last month also deferred effecting salary increments agreed with the workers’ representatives.
The companies, which require rail for the bulk movement of inputs and products, have entered the partnership with the NRZ to ensure the usability of wagons.
Some of NRZ’s clients in the sugar industry have made available foreign currency to the parastatal for the refurbishment exercise.
Contacted for comment, the NRZ’s corporate affairs manager, Misheck Matanhire, said the company had invited local customers to become partners as part of its turnaround strategy. He confirmed that foreign currency had been availed to the parastatal to enable it to meet customers’ requirements.
“The NRZ as part of its turnaround strategy has invited local customers to become partners, by funding the refurbishment of NRZ locomotives,” said Matanhire.
He said the parastatal had begun to refurbish locomotives and wagons under the self-finance scheme for companies that have made funds available to the parastatal.
“We confirm that Zimbabwe Sugar Sales financed the refurbishment of 135 wagons and two locomotives in a partnership arrangement that will improve the wagon supply, as well as improve the movement of sugar to the export markets” said Matanhire.
He said this was necessary because the company lacked the funds, but was willing to form strategic alliances with customers.
He confirmed that the country’s largest sugar producer, Hippo Valley and Triangle Sugar Milling, had provided funds to the company for that purpose.
“Hippo Valley and Triangle Sugar Milling have also financed the refurbishment for 235 cane wagons in order to expedite the movement of cane from the estates and processed sugar for distribution,” said Matanhire.