The Government is in the process of finalizing its negotiations with India’s Afrexim Bank for a US$115 million rescue package, targeting the recapitalization of the National Railways of Zimbabwe, (NRZ) a cabinet minister has revealed.
Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, Prof Mthuli Ncube made the revelations at the ongoing Zimbabwe Economic Development Conference (ZEDCON) being held in Victoria Falls while responding to an inquiry by industry on the raft of measures Government was undertaking to lower the cost of production.
Members of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) bemoaned that over reliance on road transport was pushing up production costs as well as bleeding the fiscus through continuous road rehabilitation programmes.
They said studies had shown that efficient railway network would lessen the burden on the road infrastructure as well as being cheaper for business, thereby lowering production costs.
“We are wrapping up our negotiations with an Indian Bank. We are looking at US$115 million loan to fund the recapitalization of NRZ. The negotiations are at an advanced stage and very soon you will see some activity at NRZ in terms of rail rehabilitation and procurement of wagons,” Prof Ncube said.
In his national 2023 budget statement, Prof Ncube noted that service provision by NRZ had remained poor at a time demand for its services are needed to lower the cost of cargo freight in support of economic transformation.
The growth and transformation of Zimbabwe’s economy are expected to be anchored on 14 priority areas under NDS1, and one such pillar is infrastructure development.