Govt revokes Mulobezi Railway concession

Mulobezi Railway
GOVERNMENT has with immediate effect revoked the Mulobezi Railway concession agreement signed with Leasons General Contractors a decade ago, due to under performance.

The Railway has since been handed over to Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL), with a mandate to revamp operations by the first quarter of next year.

Transport, Works and Supply Minister Yamfwa Mukanga who announced the revocation in Ndola yesterday, said ZRL would immediately embark on the rehabilitation of the dilapidated rail infrastructure to ensure it starts operating by early 2014.

Mr Mukanga said rehabilitation and other development works would be financed from the US$120 million grant that Government gave to ZRL from the $750 million Eurobond.

Some of the infrastructure to be worked on include; rail sleepers which are vital in determining the speed for cargo and passengers.

“Zambia Railways has been given the mandate to operate the Mulobezi Railway following Government’s decision to repossess it from the concessionaire.

“Rehabilitation works on some dilapidated infrastructure will be commissioned soon and Mulobezi Railway is expected to start operating by early next year,” Mr Mukanga added.

He said it was important that Mulobezi Railway became viable to ease the movement of goods as well as, provide an alternative transport for passengers.

Mr Mukanga said this development will greatly benefit the population along the 163 kilometre stretch, hence upgrading the rail infrastructure to boost economic activities.

Government signed the Mulobezi Railway deal with Leasons General Contractors Limited in 2003 but operations have not been satisfactory enough, resulting its revocation.

More than K368 million had so far been pumped in by the Government in the operations of Mulobezi Railway since Leasons General Contractors took over a decade ago.