By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba will meet North-Western Railway Company chairperson Enoch Kavindele to compare notes on the finalisation of modalities for the long-awaited greenfield project.
Mr Mushimba said the recently signed Statutory Instrument (SI) on bulk and heavy cargo, makes it inevitable to improve the country’s railway network.
“We are meeting this week with Mr Kavindele to compare notes on the progress made regarding this greenfield project as you are aware Government has a 30 per cent stake in the project to de-risk the project,” he said.
He said this in an interview in Mufulira on Saturday that resource mobilisation for the project had advanced and that it would cost up to US$1 billion connecting Bengwela Corridor among others.
Mr Mushimba reiterated that the Government had embarked on the journey to revamp the railway infrastructure to reduce the cost of doing business in the country and that the Government would continue partnering with the private sector to improve train speed.
“The SI No 7 of 2018 which is requiring 30 per cent of heavy and bulk cargo to be moved by railway needs additional infrastructure and this is the reason we have embarked on a journey to improve railway infrastructure while encouraging greenfields in the railway sector,” he said.
Mr Mushimba said the Government was also spending $50 million on the inter-mine railway to make haulage of cargo easy.
“We are spending $50 million on rail lines linking industries, if you checked around, you can see the progress that has been made on inter-mine railway projects among others,” he said.
Last year in October, Cabinet approved the proposal for Government to acquire 30 per cent shares in North-West Railway Company.
The railway line is important as it is going to resolve the transportation hurdles faced by mining companies in North-Western Province and it will involve the construction of about 580 kilometres of rail line to link Zambia with Angola.