State to get share in railway

Goverment will acquire 30 percent equity in the US$400 million privately-owned North West Railway project that has been planned to link Zambia to the port of Benguela in Angola.

Acting Minister of Transport and Communication Ronald Chitotela said Government intends to develop all channels of transport to open up the entire country to enable people participate fully in economic development.

“Government will soon buy 30 percent equity in the North West Rail owned by [businessman] Mr Enoch Kavindele, who has agreed to offload these shares to Government. Discussions are ongoing to finalise everything but this is a private sector-driven project, and as Government we want to see that it takes off,” Mr Chitotela said.

He was responding to concerns by North-Western Province’s council of elders chairman Lucas Chikoti who alleged that Government is focusing too much on road development in the region while neglecting other transport sub-sectors.

Mr Chitotela also said Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) has granted authority to China Haba Limited to single- source for the construction of the Mumbwa-Kasempa road that will be undertaken through contract financing (contractor will source funds and charge Government later).

He said development is not cheap since it comes with challenges.

“Plans without actualisation are nothing, hence Government is walking the talk. As we speak, a Chinese contractor has been engaged to work on the US$200 million Manyinga-Mwinilunga road. We are almost reaching finacial closure and they will soon move on site.

“ZPPA has also granted a no objection to single-source China Haba Limited to work on the Mumbwa-Kasempa road under contract financing.

“This contractor will source for funds and charge Government later but we also intend to construct two toll plazas on Chingola-Solwezi road and Solwezi-Kalumbila by early 2017 so that road users pay for maintenance of these roads with no pressure on the treasury,” he said

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