New Zimbabwe.com

AAG slams minister Gumbo for ‘burying’ NRZ

BLACK empowerment lobby group, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), has castigated Transport minister Dr Jorum Gumbo accusing him of declaring the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) a “dead” company.
The minister, last week, told Senate that it was proving “difficult” to revive the parastatal.
“We presented a paper to Cabinet to look at options to resuscitate NRZ, but the problem is that their books are very bad to the extent it is difficult to attract partners, but we are negotiating with different companies for partnership,” Gumbo was quoted saying.
However, AAG Matabeleland Region president, Reginald Shoko, said it was “disappointing” for the minister to pass such a verdict.
“From an economic point of view NRZ is one of the biggest economic enablers and a very crucial parastatal that must be revived if we are dreaming of economic turnaround.
“The minister might not have the ideas or strategies, which means he is the wrong person and must go, not for him to bury such a crucial enterprise,” Shoko charged.
At its peak, the state owned parastatal used to have a staff compliment of at least 20 000 but that has since been cut down to around 5000.
NRZ also used to move at least 18 million tonnes of freight annually, a figure which has drastically plummeted, due to the deterioration of its locomotive fleet.
Shoko added that one of the options available to revive the parastatal was to effect a ban on the movement of heavy goods on the road network.
“To name a few options available for him, his ministry must immediately ban any transportation of goods above 20 tonnes on our roads.
“This has a double positive effect, improving the lifespan of our roads and at the same time creating business for NRZ in the short to long term,’ said Shoko.
The collapse of the NRZ led to most companies opting to transport their heavy goods through the road, a situation that has contributed to the deterioration of the country’s road network.
Shoko also said government must “unbundle the company into two or three units that will easily attract investors coupled with inheriting the firm’s debt and also funding the streamlining or retrenchment of the large workforce”.Advertisement