By CATHERINE NYIRENDA –
GOVERNMENT is in a process of introducing a quota system which will regulate the amount of cargo to be transported by road.
Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma told parliament on Thursday that the quota system would limit the amount of cargo to be transported by road.
Mr Yaluma made the statement on behalf of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga and added that the system would encourage business houses to transport cargo, that was beyond the legal limit, by rail.
He said this in response to the question raised by Kwacha Member of Parliament Boniface Mutale who wanted to know what measures the Government had taken to encourage transportation of cargo by rail in order to preserve the life span of the road network.
He said among other measures, Government was constructing new and modern railway lines on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis linking Zambia to sea ports by rail.
“This will encourage cargo designated for international market to be transported by rail,” he said.
He said Government was also financing rehabilitation and construction of railway lines and procurement of locomotives and wagons for Tanzania – Zambia Railways (TAZARA) and Zambia Railways Limited.
“This will help increase speeds from the current 40 kilometre per hour to 80, eliminating derailment and help link the network to industrial areas such as inter-mine,” he said.
UPND Moomba MP Vitalis Mooya asked the minister in a follow up question when the restriction to transportation of cargo would be introduced.
Mr Yaluma said as soon as Government could provide an alternative, it could guarantee efficiency in the railway industry, currently under rehabilitation.
UPND Mazabuka Central MP Garry Nkombo asked what measures Government was taking to ensure there was no encroachment near railway lines especially on the Southern part of Lusaka.
Mr Yaluma said Government would move in and demolish property that was erected along the line of rail, without compensation.
He also told the House that Government had no intentions of conducting oil and gas explorations in Western Province but would allow private companies to conduct the exercise.
The minister was responding to a question raised by Agenda for Democracy and Development (ADD) Luena MP Mulumemui Imenda who wanted to know whether any explorations for oil was ever conducted in the Baroste plains or in any other part of Western Province between 1993 and 2013.
Mr Yaluma said Government undertook prospecting for oil and gas in Western Province from June 2008 and that the results indicated that there was potential for gas and oil.