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NRZ to hold 'crisis' meeting

by Staff reporter
24 Jan 2021 at 22:28hrs | Views
THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board will soon convene a "crisis" meeting to map the way forward in terms of the paratastatal's restructuring following the demise of the entity's acting general manager.

Mr Joseph Mashika who was appointed NRZ acting general manager on August 1 last year passed on last week Sunday at a time the board and management were restructuring of the entity.

In an interview on Friday, NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika said the meeting which would be held in Bulawayo could have been held over the weekend but was rescheduled. This he said was due to other commitments by the board chair Advocate Martin Dinha that have cropped up.

The meeting will also focus on strategising operations to improve performance after the firm in 2020 moved 2,5 million tonnes of cargo from 2,8 million a year earlier.

The dip in freight volume has largely been attributed to the detrimental impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Going forward as NRZ, the board has quickly ordered that we have what I would call a 'crisis' meeting or 'refocused' meeting to review NRZ operations.

"The meeting is coming as a result of the demise of the acting general manager; it is also coming when we dipped in terms of our performance.

"In 2019, we had 2,8 million tonnes and then dropped to 2,5 million tonnes in 2020 and the dip is largely premised on the issue of the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

As part of a restructuring exercise which began last year, NRZ is trimming the number of executive directors from six to three.

Last year, the parastatal's board sacked general manager Engineer Lewis Mukwada, and three other senior executives namely: director marketing Mrs Elector Mafunga, director operations Mr Samson Bhuza and director corporate services Mr Misheck Matanhire.

NRZ has since submitted to Government some of the names of the interviewed and incumbent candidates to fill in senior executive posts under a leaner management structure the entity has adopted. On the restructuring exercise, Mr Maravanyika said NRZ was pursuing the initiative, which is expected to add impetus on the entity's transformation.

"There is no going back in terms of restructuring of NRZ, so this meeting is going to look at all those things because when the board relieved most of the top management you find that the management at NRZ currently, is depleted.

"So, the board has to come up with a working theme and make sure that the organisation continues to go on the vision and thrust of the shareholder (Government)," he said.

In 2020, the parastatal announced that it had been forced to revise downward its annual freight movement target by 10 percent for the year following a significant drop in business owing to a myriad of challenges NRZ faced in 2019.

Part of the parastatal's challenges are largely to do with the company's dilapidated rail infrastructure and obsolete equipment, which includes locomotives, coaches and wagons.

In 2019, the rail entity missed its target of hauling 4,2 million tonnes of cargo, only managing to transport 2,8 million tonnes, which again was 17,6 percent less compared with the 2018's achievement of 3,4 million tonnes.

At its peak in the 1990s, the company used to move about 14,4 million tonnes of freight against an installed capacity of 18 million tonnes.

Source - chronicle