By Darlington Gatsi
FINANCIALLY hamstrung National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), has resorted to selling its land to boost recapitalisation efforts as it looks to raise funds to procure locomotives and wagons.
NRZ has turned to its vast land which will be subdivided into residential and commercial stands at market value.
The parastatal has been failing to service its existing ailing infrastructure and locomotives.
Recently NRZ revealed that some of its old wagons were banned from South African territory as they have a high risk of derailment.
NRZ has 68 mainline locomotives, of which 14 are in service, with 73 shunt but only 25 are in operation.
The NRZ expects to get about US$400 million from the targeted land sales after deduction of servicing costs.
NRZ Public Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Manager Andrew Kunambura confirmed the development saying the land disposal, once approved by the shareholder, would go a long way in funding NRZ recapitalisation efforts.
“NRZ has valuable vacant land. It was realised that serviced land is at least five times more valuable than unserviced. It is against this background that management is submitting this proposal to have some of its land for sell as residential and commercial stands, proceeds of which would be used to recapitalise NRZ,” Kunambura said.
NRZ has set sights on its huge tracts of land in Bulawayo, Kadoma and Rugare in Harare for envisioned sub-division and disposal.
The programme will be undertaken by property developers in the country.
An independent estate valuer last year indicated that NRZ has an undeveloped land portfolio worth over US$300 million.
Kunambura said some of the serviced land would not be sold but retained for future needs.
“The NRZ will only sell stands to meet its immediate needs and retain some of the serviced stands for future use. The immediate requirements include infrastructural rehabilitation, procurement of wagons, locomotives and signalling systems. The company will also use some of the money to modernise its workshops and clear some of its existing debts,” he said.