Resuscitate NRZ to save roads: Minister

A government official has noted that the resuscitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) would go a long way in preventing damage to the road infrastructure as more goods would be transported by rail.  

Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, responsible for Monitoring, Implementation of Government Programs, Dr Joram Gumbo, made these remarks during a tour of the NRZ workshops, Thursday. 

Minister Gumbo noted that in a bid to resuscitate the parastatal, the government has pledged ZWL$2 billion to fund the refurbishing of NRZ infrastructure. 

He said Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and the constant use of roads by haulage trucks transporting goods from one point to another continues to damage the roads.  

“NRZ is a vital link to economic development, more so for a land-locked country like ours. It is therefore important to ensure the company is recapitalised. The government continues to support your efforts to re-equip and recapitalize the organization in order to give you a competitive advantage. In this regard ZWL$2blln has been pledged to fund the refurbishment and reestablishment of NRZ infrastructure,” he said. 

“I have been informed that the target for this year is to refurbish four main lines, five shunting locomotives and 940 wagons. I urge you to apply yourselves fully to this project given the fact that for the entity to operate optimally a 122, 6130 wagons and 170 coaches are required.” 

Minister Gumbo emphasised that for the country to achieve vision 2030 there is a need to put enough effort into the transport system. 

“The volume of trucks on our roads has increased exponentially over the years and has brought with it many challenges the rapid increases in road freight is a cause for concern because of the damage on our roads. Congestion and the rise in accidents, these problems are partly due to the goods that are being transported by roads instead of rail. It is our hope that upon completion your project should assist in relieving pressure on our road network.” 

Minister Gumbo raised concern on vandalism cases that have been reported on NRZ properties.  

He said the government needs to put in a lot of money to make sure that NRZ is resuscitated to its original state.  

“The management has briefed me on the challenges that they are facing and I will take it upon myself to interact with my colleagues and directly with His Excellency to make sure that this important railway system is resuscitated. There are various figures that are required, a lot of money is required and it is very necessary so if we are to achieve vision 2030 we need to put a lot of effort into the transport system,” he said. 

“I also need to mention that the government continues to receive depressing news of the vandalism of your infrastructure. It is our expectation that you will adopt innovative ICT-based solutions to decisively address this problem.” 

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