Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
The $400 million National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) recapitalisation deal is on track with Government negotiating with its partner the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group/Transnet consortium. Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza said many other suitors were approaching Government with various proposals.
Minister Matiza was speaking at a meeting with road authorities and other stakeholders during his tour of Masvingo province road projects.
“We have been negotiating with an outfit called DIDG/ Transnet together with NRZ. We had an agreement which ended on February 14, which gave them exclusivity to negotiate the recapitalisation of NRZ.
“The issue is that we want to recapitalise our rail system so that it becomes the best in the region,” he said.
“We still have certain things to address and I am due to present a report to Cabinet on the outcome of this framework agreement, how far we have gone and the way forward. The passion and the thrust is to have our rail network moving.
“We do not want to have the same scenario as we had on this road (Harare-Beitbride-Chirundu Road) where we opened champagne and did all sorts of things and nothing came out of that.”
Minister Matiza said there were various economic developments that need railway transportation such as mining.
“There are certain financial models that are being brought by investors who would want to do mining. Some of them want to rehabilitate some tracks to the port.
“These are opportunities that I am just talking about and Masvingo is one of them. The network to the sea is urgent and Government is seized with that matter. As a way of making our economy tick, that should be a priority.”
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Ezra Chadzamira said the various road projects in Masvingo show desire by the new dispensation to commit resources for the development of rural areas and communities.
“Trending development approaches these days encourage putting up of a sound infrastructure which will inevitably attract visits, stimulate trade and investment both domestic and international. Our special economic zones and industrial parks should be supported by an enabling modern infrastructure,” he said.
“Equally our smart city concepts which we adopted as Government need the same modern infrastructure which depicts upper middle class economy status.
“This will not happen overnight. We subscribe to President Mnangagwa’s gradual approach of brick upon brick.”