August 19, 2016

Zimbabwe seeks South African funding to revamp railway

Written by  John Batwell
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Zimbabwe seeks South African funding to revamp railway G E Cooke

ZIMBABWE’s Ministry of Transport is trying to negotiate a partnership deal with Transnet, South Africa, while the government is in talks with the Development Bank of South Africa to help fund the rehabilitation of Zimbabwe’s 2583km rail network, although previous negotiations with the bank came to nothing.


Zimbabwe’s transport and infrastructure development minister, Mr Joram Gumbo, said in July that government plans to introduce legislation to ban the transport of bulk freight by road in an attempt to reduce damage to the road network and boost rail freight. National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is supposed to be the prime mover of freight, but has lost traffic due to the deteriorating state of the infrastructure.

NRZ’s financial performance has declined sharply, with its net loss increasing from $US 31.6m in 2014 to $US 40.9m last year contributing to a cumulative loss of $US 276.4m. According to the Zimbabwe auditor-general’s report for 2015, NRZ closed the year with net current liabilities of $US 170.9m compared with $US 131.1m in 2014.

NRZ slashed salaries by 50% in July, citing the tough operating environment, a development that will see some employees taking home less than $US 90 per month. NRZ says it may have to lay off 1400 of its 6000-strong workforce.

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