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NRZ revival gathers momentum

PROGRESS is being made on the US$400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) recapitalisation project as the consortium which clinched the deal is poised to provide locomotives, wagons and passenger coaches, which in turn will generate US$2,3 million net revenue by the end of March, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.

By Elias Mambo/Hazel Ndebele

The Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group and Transnet (DIDG-Transnet) consortium last year won the tender to recapitalise the NRZ and says the project will help the country escape the economic crisis.

Negotiations between the NRZ and the DIDG-Transnet on the framework agreement were completed in December last year. Cabinet is expected to approve the framework this month.

According to Transport minister Joram Gumbo’s 100-day plan seen by this paper, DIDG-Transnet is awaiting conclusion of the framework agreement by cabinet in order to deploy equipment.

The equipment, expected to have been received by end of January from the consortium, includes 10 mainline locomotives, three shunt locomotives, 120 wagons and 34 passenger coaches. The lease hire of the equipment totals US$8,1 million for a period of 12 months and lease charges would be paid under NRZ operating expenditure.
“The hired equipment will move 180 000 tonnes in February and March 2018, and bring in a net US$2,35 million revenue (after accounting for lease charges),” reads Gumbo’s 100-day plan.

The document also reveals that the NRZ internal capacity restoration programme is making progress with two locomotives and 100 wagons overhauled.

“The locomotives are in the workshops undergoing repairs and are 70% and 80% complete. They require tyres which are expected to be delivered in January 2018,”says the document.

It goes on to state that the wagons and locomotives under the internal capacity programme would be jointly funded through the NRZ’s own resources and a loan from CBZ Bank. These are expected to be released by end of March such that they will move 30 000 tonnes, earning US$630 000 by then.

A revamped NRZ will help in reviving the economy.

Meanwhile, Gumbo has said his ministry will install the airspace navigation and surveillance radar system at the Robert Mugabe International Airport following the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) approval to award a 28 million euro (US$33,3 million) tender to Indra Sistemas and Homt Espana SA.

Documents seen by this newspaper reveal that “negotiations have been done with Indra with hopes to finalise the funding proposal expected by January 31.”

In an interview, Gumbo said the awarding of the tender was above board. “The company was awarded the tender before I joined the ministry, but another tenderer objected.”

“The matter went to the Supreme Court and there was no wrongdoing so negotiations with Indra resumed,” Gumbo said.
He also said the deal was approved by Cabinet, the tender board as well as the ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

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