12 November 2012

Zambia: ZRL Needs K600 Billion Revival Funds

ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) needs approximately K600 billion to revive the struggling railway company and bring it back to full operational capacity, company secretary Nathaniel Inambao has said.

Mr Inambao said yesterday that a special team of experts from the company in conjunction with those from Government, was working out a recapitalisation programme which would among other things come up with a report on the new investment portfolio for the entire organisation.

Both local and foreign companies would be engaged in providing various services under an ambitious programme aimed at rehabilitating the railway line.

"Tenders for the rehabilitation of the railway line will be floated both locally and internationally," he said in response to a Press query.

An inventory of all ZRL properties and infrastructure was currently going on and the findings of the team carrying out the exercise would be made known to the public after completion.

"Suffice to mention that indicators are that most valuable assets were neglected and as a result got vandalised," he said.

The railway infrastructure which have been vandalised include tamping machines worth millions of Kwacha which were left negligently at Chambishi and Chisamba where they were gutted by fire.

Mr Inambao said the tamping machines in Kafue and Kalomo have been vandalised beyond recognition so were the flashbutt in Kafue.

For the moment, Mr Inambao said there had been adequate locomotive power though the wagons were mostly in a poor state.

ZRL needs to rehabilitate old wagons apart from procuring additional ones while the passenger coaches need replacement because they are also in poor state.

"As you are aware Zambia Railways is mandated to run the line from Victoria Falls Bridge in Livingstone to Chililabombwe and the intermine lines of the Copperbelt," Mr Inambao said.

He said apart from financing, ZRL plans were also underway by the Government to build other railway lines which would not be necessarily under Zambia Railways.

Mr Inambao said railway lines whose construction was expected to be built by Government include the North-Western line, TAZARA and the Chipata-Mchinji railway line.

The ZRL company secretary said the expansion of the country's railway network was under the armbit of the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication.

He expressed optimism that the Government backed pre-feasibility studies on the country's railway infrastructure would be concluded soon offering solutions to problems in the railway sector.

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