By Oliver Kazunga
The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has expressed satisfaction with progress made towards concluding the US$400 million recapitalisation deal with the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG)/Transet Consortium.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Joel Biggie Matiza, is understood to have submitted to Treasury the recommendations by NRZ following a recent board meeting on the matter.
In an interview, NRZ public relations manager, Mr Nyasha Maravanyika, said the recapitalisation process was on course and dismissed reports by some sections of the media that Minister Matiza was plotting to scuttle the deal by “smuggling through the backdoor” a Dubai-based firm, Feonirich Investments LLC.
“Whatever resolution that NRZ makes, it passes through our Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. And if the Minister does not accede to the resolution, the resolution does not go to Government.
“As we stand after our resolution, the Minister (Matiza) has acceded to that and taken our resolution to Government and also to Treasury to determine the financial strength of the submissions by the prospective investor,” he said.
Mr Maravanyika said speculation being raised about the deal was irresponsible and tantamount to reckless gossiping meant to divert the credit that the partners to the NRZ recapitalisation project have achieved.
He said NRZ has gone through many potential deals in the past but faced difficulties in determining a credible potential partner such as DIDG/Transnet.
“This one had a flow which was clear in terms of transparency and accountability. As far as we are concerned, we are happy with where we are and we wait for the Government to tell us which direction to take and thereafter we see what we can do,” said Mr Maravanyika.
“Obviously, knowing the urgency of the NRZ recapitalisation deal we are looking at Treasury responding to us very soon.
“If Treasury gives us the instructions, guidance and the proper way of going through this financial transaction, then we will be able to congregate as the negotiating team and see how best this thing can be done.”
So far, he said, what was clear was that the NRZ recapitalisation project was on course and hopes were high that it would sail through.
Mr Maravanyika said Government’s Joint Ventures Act was one of the prominent tools in the NRZ recapitalisation framework.
He said all parties have agreed that there should be a Joint Venture company, which should come into place.
“I am sure once the Government sees that the financial submissions are positive and look at the possibility of the JV Company, I think NRZ and the partners involved can then make the deal take off,” said Mr Maravanyika.
Speaking from Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday, DIDG executive chairman, Mr Donovan Chimhandamba, said:
“We are pleased that we now have crossed an important hurdle and the NRZ board has, subject to confirmation of the availed funding documents by Treasury, endorsed our proposal and implementation plans through its resolution on the 9th of September 2019. We are happy with such resolution”.
He said everything was ready and they were looking forward to signing the Joint Venture Agreement, which will kick start the work to revitalise the railway company.
“The NRZ employees, customers, suppliers, bankers and regional partners have been patient for long enough and between the diaspora and Government of Zimbabwe, we should all work towards removing any impediments as Zimbabwe cannot wait long periods just for one project to start,” said Mr Chimhandamba.
NRZ embarked on a recapitalisation project in 2017 leading to the pre-bid conference, which attracted over 80 potential investors who were then adjudicated and the DIDG/Transnet Consortium won the bid. The Chronicle