The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) management has said the just-ended 2019, was a difficult year for the loss-making state enterprise, resulting in a reversal in the gains made in the previous two years.
The Zimbabwean economy last year faced a myriad of challenges ranging from foreign currency shortages, power outages, shortage of fuel to many other disabling factors.
Briefing the media on their performance in 2019 at the company’s headquarters in Bulawayo, Thursday, NRZ general manager, Lewis Mukwada, said they were not spared from the challenges that bedevilled the economy last year.
“NRZ has not been spared by this turbulent macroeconomic environment and continued delays in the realisation of recapitalisation efforts of the organisation on the other hand,” said Mukwada.
“This has seen a reversal in the gains that had been made over the past two years with regards to improved business volumes moved. A cumulative 2.648 million tonnes were moved up to November 2019 against a target of 3.960 million tonnes compared to 3.179 million tonnes moved in the same period in 2018. It is projected that 2.825 million tonnes will be realised by year-end against a target of 4.2 million.”
Mukwada cited several reasons, including non-availability of planned business for their poor performance during the period under review.
“Coal miners struggled during the first quarter but recovered in the second and third quarters,” he said.
“Wheat and maize imports did not materialise as expected owing to foreign currency shortages.”
Inadequate locomotives and foreign currency shortages also dealt the parastatal a heavy blow in 2019.
“Lack of foreign currency due to SI (Statutory Instrument) 142 resulted in the organisation failing to hire locomotives, on one hand, being unable to refurbish its own fleet,” said Mukwada.
“Poor state of infrastructure saw the number of train accidents increase, resulting in the closure of rail corridors for days while repairs were being carried out the track.”