By Tinomuda Chakanyuka
The Government is pursuing different funding options, including partnering private investors, to recapitalise the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco), under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, an official has said.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Mr George Magosvongwe told Sunday News that the parastatal was examining ways of partnering private companies.
He said several companies, from in and outside Zimbabwe, had shown interest in partnering Zupco and negotiations were in progress.
“Zupco is examining ways of partnering other companies that have interests in the urban transport business.
“We are talking to partners from across the globe. A number of them have registered interests in partnering Zupco.
“At the moment I cannot mention the names of companies that we are in discussions with because this may jeopardise negotiations,” he said.
Recapitalisation of Zupco is expected to see the parastatal reviving its intra-city routes in line with the National Transport Policy that was launched in 2013.
Over the years Zupco has been concentrating on servicing long-distance rural routes on account of competition from urban commuter omnibus operators.
Various efforts have been made before, albeit in vain to revive the ailing parastatal.
In 2016 the Government opened negotiations with India’s Eximbank for a $25 million loan to purchase at least 290 buses for Zupco.
Of the 290 buses, 145 were expected to be deployed to intra-city routes towards the phasing of privately owned commuter omnibuses.
Zupco was the major public transport operator in the 1990s and previous years in both long distance and intra-city routes.
An estimated one million commuters use urban public transport countrywide daily.
Zupco has not been receiving assistance from Treasury for over a decade now and the parastatal is teetering on the brink of collapse due to under capitalisation.
The Government has already successfully set in motion the revival of the National Railways of Zimbabwe after the signing of a $400 million deal with the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), in partnership with South Africa’s Transnet. The Sunday News