Continued use of Zimbabwe dollar affecting NRZ operations, says board chair

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE continued use of the Zimbabwe dollar is threatening viability of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) whose operation costs are largely in foreign currency.

In a statement released after a board meeting Thursday, NRZ board chairperson Martin Dinha said the company is grappling with obsolete equipment whose replacement requires foreign currency.

“NRZ like any other company in Zimbabwe, is facing challenges where most of its operational costs are in foreign currency while it is getting most of its receipts in local currency.

“This obviously affects the day to day operations, as critical inputs to the business like fuel and locomotive spares availability is threatened.”

“NRZ is in the process of pursuing various options including procurement of new locomotives and wagons and infrastructural rehabilitation for it to perform its strategic role as part of its contribution towards vision 2030,” Dinha said.

Dinha also announced that the company had cleared workers’ salary arrears.

“NRZ had 17 months salaries arrears incurred between 2012 and 2019. These were cleared with an ex-gracia component and NRZ paid ZW$326 million towards this obligation.

“NRZ is now up to date with its salaries and will continue clearing other legacy debts, both statutory and non- statutory, funds permitting.”

In spite of growing calls for the formal re-introduction of US dollars, finance minister Mthuli Ncube has refused to do so.

The local currency however, continues to lose value on both the local and formal, Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) exchange market.