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NRZ pursues recapitalisation talks with Indian suitor – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter

THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) says its engagements with the Indian Railways Infrastructure Consultancy and Engineering Company, RITES Limited for the supply of locomotives are at an advanced stage with the local railway firm awaiting the release of funds from the Treasury.

A Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between the two parties was signed early last year with the main focus on infrastructure development projects.

The intervention is meant to support NRZ through technical support, offer railway infrastructure development including export or leasing of rolling stock and transforming railway workshops into modernised and advanced workshops.

The NRZ is going through a phased recapitalization programme to restore operational capacity and restore profitability.
The recapitalisation of NRZ is one of the top priorities under the National Development Strategy (NDS1) as transport and logistics are part of the key pillars of economic recovery.

In a recent interview with Business Chronicle, NRZ acting general manager Ms Respina Zinyanduko, said the recapitalisation programme was on track, adding that other stalled negotiations have been revived.

“On recapitalisation, we have covered a lot of ground. We have been in the market and looked at several options, some materialised while others did not as certain requirements proved to be beyond our reach,” she said.

“Basically, we are now zeroing in on the RITES of India where we are expecting to buy locomotives and wagons and diesel multiple units or DMUs.

“Negotiations and agreements are already in place. What is left is the confirmation on funding from the Treasury, which they have advised that they will do any time from now.”

Apart from the India deal, the NRZ boss said stalled negotiations with the Russian firm- TMH have been revived.
When the ongoing Russia- Ukraine conflict started in February last year, it affected negotiations as both parties could not travel for talks.

“We have resuscitated the negotiations. We had an idle year but the Russians came to Zimbabwe last month to pursue the discussions,” Ms Zinyanduko said.

National Railways of Zimbabwe train

While the firm is working on a short-term recapitalisation strategy towards procurement of locomotives, it is also looking at Private Public Partnerships (PPPs).

On this, Ms Zinyanduko said they were negotiating and engaging with customers where they would repair and maintain some wagons.

“We have several arrangements in line. We have engaged our bigger customers who require more capacity. We have an arrangement where they would buy locomotive spares and we do refurbishment and then dedicate that facility to their cargo,” she said.

“We have a running contract with one of our biggest customers, which I cannot name due to confidentiality issues. They are refurbishing two locomotives and 100 wagons.

“The other arrangement is at the signing stage and the first part entails the refurbishment of three locomotives and 400 wagons.

“That route will assist us in creating capacity. A locomotive in terms of manufacturing takes between 18 and 24 months, so while we are waiting for delivery we still need to move cargo.”

Under the India deal, she said NRZ expects refurbishment of other key infrastructure such as reducing cautions or what are known as ‘rail potholes’, particularly from the busiest ones such as Hwange-Harare and Dabuka- Maputo routes.
In this year’s budget, the parastatal has set aside funds for the procurement of wooden slippers for stabilisation of yards.

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Latter-Day Saints gift classroom block to Joanna Fuyana Primary – Chronicle

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter

In a milestone achievement, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in partnership with Government yesterday commissioned a US$200 000 modern classroom block at Joanna Fuyana Primary School in Nyamandlovu, Umguza, Matabeleland North province.

The classroom block is complete with whiteboards in accordance with modern day standards of education.

Joanna Fuyana Primary School is named after the late national heroine and wife of the late nationalist and Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo who died in 2003.

  Minister Richard Moyo at Joanna fuyana school

The classroom block, which is solar-powered also houses an administration wing complete with a staff room and the headmaster’s office.

The green energy is connected to a nearby borehole that fills up two water tanks, one that is near the classroom block to service the school and the other about 100 metres away for the surrounding community of Ward 19.

This brings to three the classroom blocks that the school has with one being built by the Umguza Rural District Council.

Government has made significant strides in providing education in resettlement areas which were previously dominated by unsuitable satellite schools.

Following the fastrack land reform programme in 2002, there was a need for social services such as schools and clinics as beneficiaries of the programme took ownership of the new areas.

These were however initially not readily available, which resulted in pupils using makeshift classrooms such as farmhouses of previous owners, dip tanks, and stables.

But Government’s commitment to improving social amenities has seen schools and clinics being constructed.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo toured and commissioned the classroom block alongside Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Bulawayo Stake president Mr Mzingaye Ndlovu, Ward 19 Councillor Gertrude Gumbo and Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director, Mr Jabulani Mpofu.

The commissioning was also attended by village heads from the surrounding area, members of the Joint Operation Command, Government officials, parents and pupils who attend Joanna Fuyana Primary School, teachers and the community.

Joanna Fuyana Primary School pupils

In his address after the tour and commissioning of the classroom block, Minister Moyo said children in Umguza District, which is a resettlement area, were learning in poor conditions in the past.

“We would like to thank President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic because Matabeleland North was known to be lagging behind in terms of education. Children would learn under trees, at dairy stables, and at homesteads where the former white farmers lived.

“However, with the coming in of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa, there was a programme of Devolution Funds which are being used to cover the gap in schools so that children don’t travel far to attend school,” said Minister Moyo.

He said the philosophy that, “Zimbabwe is open for business”, was bearing fruit through such partnerships.

 Minister Richard Moyo at Joanna Fuyana school

“It is evident that the policy of re-engagement by President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic is bearing fruit. There are many projects that are happening through partnerships with churches and NGOs to help build schools and clinics.

“Through these partnerships, people’s lives have been changed and even with the provision of water, people no longer travel long distances. And it’s no longer manual boreholes, the Second Republic has installed solar-powered boreholes, an improvement from what was happening in the past,” said Minister Moyo.

He said the construction of the classroom block is in line with infrastructure development projects being rolled out by the Second Republic across the country, driving the success of Government’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), the five-year economic blueprint spanning from 2021 to 2025.

Mr Ndlovu said the church follows the principles of the Bible.

“Our members are taught to be self-reliant, secondly, love your neighbour and take care of their welfare, then your area, and lastly your nation. We have 13 articles of faith, but number 12 is pertinent which says, we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying, and honouring and sustaining the law,” said Mr Ndlovu.

He said the church approached the Government and community to see what could be done to uplift the lives of Zimbabweans.

Mr Ndlovu said the church supports Government programmes such as education and health.

Cllr Gumbo said it was their wish for Joanna Fuyana Primary School to offer boarding facilities to learners.

Richard Moyo at Joana Fuyana school

She said it was painful to see children learning in difficult conditions.

“As a mother, I felt pain seeing these children learning like they were. Some would walk from far away, five to 10kms just to learn. So, this development is welcome and we request that through partnerships like these, a boarding school is built for the children,” said Cllr Gumbo.

A villager, Ms Cigambyo Mwinde whose two children learn at the school said the classroom blocks have brought relief to the community.

“Before, the children would learn while sitting on the floor or on dilapidated chairs, but now they have a classroom block and also new furniture. Water is now easily accessible unlike in the past when we had problems in drawing it. The children now have water and so do we as the community,” said Ms Mwinde.

Shervwl Village 2 head Ms Sarah Ndlovu thanked the Government and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints saying a heavy burden had been lifted from the children and community members as their efforts had resulted in a conducive learning environment and readily available water.

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko winds up visit to … – Prensa Latina

In Victoria Falls, considered the tourist capital of Zimbabwe, the Belarusian leader is expected to see what the destination has to offer to the world, and to open the doors to potential travelers from his country.

On Tuesday, both heads of State presided over the signing of eight agreements in the fields of education, agriculture and economic collaboration.

Among other aspects, the accords include the establishment of a Permanent Joint Commission and a Memorandum of Understanding on the mutual recognition of educational qualifications.

Other agreements deal about the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, the Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Agreement for the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion in Income and Wealth Taxes.

The two statesmen also launched the Second Phase of the Zimbabwe-Belarus Agricultural Mechanization Program in the context of increased cooperation between the two countries for the modernization and industrialization of the local agricultural sector.

This includes the delivery to Zimbabwe of 1,300 tractors, 14 harvesters and disc harrows.

In the first phase of the initiative, Belarus had already delivered 474 tractors, 60 harvesters, 210 seeders and 5 low loader trucks.

In this regard, Mnangagwa recalled that when he visited Belarus in 2015 and 2019, ‘I saw how mechanized the agricultural sector was and I said that is the vision that I also have for Zimbabwe. We would like as a nation, as a people, to be food secure.’

I hope that within three to five years, the level of mechanization of agriculture in Zimbabwe will be comparable to what I saw in Belarus, he added.

The visit, Mnangagwa added, demonstrates the warm relations that exist between Harare and Minsk and, as a result of this, we have agreed to open embassies in each other’s capitals.

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Latest news bulletin | January 31st – Evening – Euronews

Updated: 31/01/2023 – 18:48

Catch up with the most important stories from around Europe and beyond – latest news, breaking news, World, Business, Entertainment, Politics, Culture, Travel.

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