Government has terminated the freight and passenger Concession Agreement with the Railway Systems of Zambia, and reaffirmed its commitment to making Zambia, a destination conducive for genuine investment.
FINANCE MINISTER ALEXANDER CHIKWANDA has announced further the decision to compulsorily acquire the Concession Rights that were granted to the Railway Systems of Zambia in 2003.
He says the acquisition has been necessitated by mismanagement of Zambia Railways infrastructure and rolling stock, leading to deterioration of assets and resultant loss to the nation as a whole.
Mr. Chikwanda has affirmed that Government would ensure that it complied with the labour laws of Zambia in relation to the welfare of RSZ employees and will meet the obligations in relation to suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders.
The reasons for repossessing the railway system of Zambia are Abandonment of the inter-mine railway network resulting in heavy inter-mine cargo moving by road, High railway transportation costs resulting in excessive road usage for heavy cargo and minimal or non-utilization of railway transportation.
Mr. Chikwanda says RSZ ALSO Failed to meet minimum service levels for passenger freight despite being a beneficiary of a substantial Government subsidy and Unacceptably high levels of derailments, loss of life and property leading to enormous cost to Government.The minister adds that there was Blatant disregard of the provisions of the concession agreement and unsatisfactory performance, resulting in great risks to the sustainability of railway transport in Zambia.
HE SAYS the measure is necessary because any additional delays would result in further destruction of the railway assets, therefore making it more expensive for the planned upgrade of the railway necessary for it to meet regional and international standards.
MR CHIKWANDA SAYS Government has prepared resources for the continued operations and rehabilitation of the railway line