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EU countries snub NRZ investors conference

30/05/2017 00:00:00
by Bulawayo correspondent

INVESTORS from European countries on Tuesday snubbed a National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) conference which was meant to solicit bids from potential investors interested in pouring money into the ailing parastatal.

NRZ, which recently embarked on a recapitalisation programme, went on the open market seeking investor funds of up to US$400 million.

Requests for funders, which have been advertised in both local and international media, only attracted investors from Asia and South Africa.

Speaking at the conference, permanent secretary in the ministry of Finance, Willard Manungo, said the tender seeks to raise funds in the form of either debt or equity for the revival of the company.

“Cabinet approved the engagement of a Technical Advisor and the adoption of a formal tender process to raise $400 million. The funds can be in the form of debt, equity or any creative combination thereof.

The publishing of the tender process advert was done in the government Gazette on May 5 2017 and subsequently in other local and international media is now under way and tender submission is planned to close on 4 July 2017,” said Manungo.

He said government has decided to grant the NRZ’s recapitalization project incentives such as guarantees of the company’s loans as well shielding the parastatal from competition from other forms of transport.

Manungo said the government will also grant the company other incentives which include inter alia, tax exemptions on project inputs essential for the recapitalisation programme.

“NRZ owes a variety of institutions, including employees and is working with government with a view to initially warehouse the debt of NRZ’s books and then jointly develop various strategies to deal with and liquidate these debts.

The government is also amenable to ring-fencing of bulk cargo to rail, though this will be conditional to the railways having capacity to move the cargo after ring-fencing and percentages of sharing between rail and road will be established for each commodity,” said Manungo.

A total number of 53 investors, both local and international, obtained bids documents at the end of the conference.



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