STATEMENT ON THE INAUGURATION OF THE NEW NATIONAL RAILWAYS OF ZIMBABWE (NRZ) BOARD

  1. General William Dube                          Vice Chair
  2. Mr. Joseph Mashika                              Board Member
  3. Mrs. Nomatemba Ndlovu                     Board Member
  4. Ms. A. Karonga                                       Board Member
  5. Mr. Eleshkuamar Patel                         Board Member
  6. Mr. Kennias Mafukidze                         Board Member
  7. Eng. L. A. Mukwada                            Board Member

You may have noticed that some members have also been retained from the old Board as their terms had not expired. I have thought it prudent not to retire the entire board in order to ensure continuity as well as to retain some institutional memory on the Board.

You will be aware that the National Railways of Zimbabwe is a designated corporate body in terms of the Railways Act. It is mandated to provide, operate and maintain an efficient system of public transportation of goods and passengers by rail. As Government we are aware that there is currently a mismatch between staffing levels and the business levels being generated by NRZ. I expect the Board to address this anomaly by developing strategies that increase the business of NRZ and through staff rationalization as necessary. Let me state outright that reliance on Treasury for financial support is not feasible at this point in time in our economy.

In respect of the railway network, NRZ operates an extensive rail network stretching about 2 760 route kilometres. The infrastructure consists of the rail network and the signalling and telecommunications equipment, which are in poor condition. The network currently has too many cautions (speed restrictions). Excessive theft and vandalism of overhead electric power transmission cables has exacerbated over the years to point where the system is now non-existent. The available number and state of rolling stock, locomotives, wagons, coaches and other critical equipment is insufficient to meet the bulk transport demand of the productive sectors of the economy. The organisation’s rolling stock has in most instances outlived its useful economic life. It is the expectation of the Ministry that the Board will bring in fresh ideas on how best we can resuscitate the infrastructure and rolling stock in addition to the strategies management has been working on.

May I remind the Board, that NRZ is a key national institution which plays a very critical role in the economic activity of our country and the region. It is for that reason that we are currently engaged in a process to recapitalise the institution. After a lengthy process initiated by the outgoing Board, a potential partner was identified through an international bidding process. Cabinet has granted the NRZ Board the green light to engage the winner of the tender, DIDG/Transnet Consortium, in contract negotiations. I therefore, implore you to work as a team as did the previous Board and finalise this deal. It is imperative for the new Board to take the Recapitalisation Programme seriously as it is the only way that NRZ can be revived and operate as it used to do.

May it be noted that no contracts shall be signed without the approval of Cabinet, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Attorney General’s Office.

We accept that the economy has not been performing to desirable levels. Capacity utilisation by industry is low. It is the mandate of the Board to enable the NRZ to win back that business which has been lost to the roads sector. I expect to see concrete and practical business strategies coming out of this Board to revitalise the NRZ.

The Board should take note that the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19) grants supervisory powers to Ministries over parastatals and State Enterprises. Furthermore, Cabinet has directed that Ministers and Deputies Ministers strengthen their supervisory roles in parastatals and State Enterprise. I therefore urge the Board to seek guidance on all Policy issues from the Ministry. In addition I expect the Board to provide the Ministry with the following:

a)   The Annual schedule of Board Meetings;

b)  Agenda for each Board meeting before the Board sits;

c)     Minutes of Board Meetings as soon as they are approved by the full Board.    

I want to assure you that the Ministry will do all it can to support the efforts of the Board to recapitalize and revive the NRZ.

 

I thank you

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *