THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco), which partnered the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) in providing an urban commuter transport service, is paying the rail parastatal ZW$14 million (about US$150 538 using the official rate) a month for the arrangement, The NewsHawks has established.
According to an internal memo addressed to NRZ employees, Zupco says it pays ZW$24 000 per coach per day, translating to about ZW$14 million per month.
“NRZ and Zupco have partnered in providing urban commuter transport service in Harare and are expected to commence the service in Bulawayo soon,” the memo, dated 14 October 2021, reads in part.
“The partnership entails Zupco providing fuel, personal protective equipment and on-board staff whilst NRZ provides commuter trains and crews and in return paid ZW$24 000 per coach per day translating to about ZW$14 million per month,” it said.
The rail parastatal requires at least 40 more locomotives, 300 new and modern coaches and 300 wagons, for it to be able to meet some of the service requirements.
Currently, the NRZ has about 40 locomotives, but some of them are not functional, while others have outlived their lifespan of 25 years.
At its peak in the 1990s, the rail entity moved 14.4 million tonnes against an installed capacity of 18 million tonnes annually. Currently, it moves about three million tonnes annually.
The rail entity has engaged in a restructuring exercise and is trimming the number of its executives from six to three, a process that will leave the parastatal with a general manager, chief operations officer and chief finance officer. About 2 000 employees will lose their jobs.
Meanwhile, the memo revealed that the government has given a nod for NRZ to engage Turkish company Yapi Merkez in the rehabilitation of infrastructure and procurement of new locomotives and wagons, among others.
“Having toured the NRZ system, parties are at the information exchange stage and the investor is anticipated to submit a proposal for consideration and approval by NRZ and cabinet. Thereafter, definitive agreements will be entered into. Other recap engagements on locomotives and wagon supply are being pursued,” the memo reads in part.
According to the government, the first phase of the deal is focusing on existing infrastructure and not new infrastructure. It focuses on capacitation and recapitalisation of NRZ in terms of equipment, its tracks, locomotives and wagons. This phase will also involve the scoping mission.
The second phase will entail extensive negotiations that will lead to financial closure.