President Edgar Lungu says government will commence the construction of the USD 2.3 Billion Chipata-Petauke- Serenje Railway line in May 2017.
The Head of State said this in Chipata District during the N’cwala Traditional ceremony of the Ngoni speaking people at Mtenguleni. [See Photo Gallery]
President Lungu said economic and social infrastructure development is a catalyst for Zambia’s transformation to a developed country.
“My administration remains firmly committed to rapidly develop our infrastructure so that we make Zambia a hub in information communication technology, power generation and distribution, tourism and transport among others” President Lungu said
The Head of State said the project is expected to be completed in four years and it will create more than 8,000 jobs.
“I expect that all government departments involved in this project to adhere to the timetable to start construction not later than may 2017. Government has full confidence in the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Cooperation which has been awarded this 388.8 kilometre railway line from Chipata through Petauke in Eastern Province to Serenje in Central Province” President Lungu stated.
President Lungu said the railway line will enhance international trade through the Nacala development corridor thereby providing direct economic stimulus in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
He said the railway line would link Zambia’s main rail network with the Malawian line through Chipata-Mchinji railway line. This will provide the shortest route of 1500 kilometres to the sea from Kapiri-Mposhi.
At the same ceremony, President Lungu emphasised that culture and heritage is a national asset and the cornerstone of the nation’s identity and for centuries, the Zambian people depended upon traditions to teach values and morals to the younger generation.
He added that Zambians must not be afraid of who they are, but be proud and leverage the special cultural diversities for the greater good and development of the people.
Meanwhile Zambia Railways Limited is expected to benefit from the construction of the railway line as the line connectivity will provide reliable and cost effective bulk transportation to the mining, energy, agricultural sectors, etc among Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and the region at large.
The line will provide a link from mining, agricultural and industrial production centers with distant markets as well as a link for transportation of mining inputs, agricultural inputs and industrial raw materials.
The line will also see a reduction in the transportation costs for the customers as this route is the shortest to the sea port.
And Zambia Railways Limited participated at this year’s N’cwala traditional ceremony which was held under the theme “Unity and Tolerance”
Zambia Railways Limited reaffirmed its commitment in supporting the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage.
Speaking after the presentation of gifts to the Paramount Chief Mpezeni, ZRL Managing Director Christopher Musonda said the company’s participation to traditional ceremonies across the country is an indication that it values the traditions and cultural values and norms.
And the N’cwala traditional ceremony National Chairperson, Brighton Ngoma speaking on behalf of Chief Mpezeni said the Eastern Province has seen developmental programmes from infrastructure, agriculture and other economic sectors.
Chief Mpezeni was happy to announce that the province has seen a reduction in the child marriages cases as compared to the previous years.
He attributed this to the sensitisation and educational programmes been carried out by different stakeholders in the province to educate the people on the ill vice.
Government is in the process of enacting the Statutory Instrument (SI) that will compel heavy and bulk cargo to be transported by rail.
Minister of Transport and Communications Brian Mushimba said the introduction of the SI will compel transporters and other players in the transportation chain to transport the bulk and heavy cargo by rail.
Speaking at the Consultative Meeting with Stakeholders in Lusaka, Mr Mushimba said the SI will help reduce road damage caused by heavy and bulk cargo and further reduce the maintenance costs.
“It is worth noting that out of 95 percent road market share, 85 percent share has been taken by foreign transporters and this implies that revenue generated goes to foreign countries while the responsibility to maintain roads remains to Zambia” he said
He said that the road sector accounts for 95 percent of the total market share, a development that has led to the collapse of the rail industry, thus the need to issue the SI which will also help grow the rail market share currently at only five percent.
Meanwhile Zambia Railways Limited Managing Director Christopher Musonda says the S.I, once implemented, will assist to harmonise the disparities in the use of various forms of transport in the sector.
He further said that the customers will enjoy reduced cost of transport by 30% as cargo will be guaranteed to ZRL, thereby making the local companies more competitive in the region.
He said that ZRL has the capacity to manage the traffic in flow after the implementation of the SI adding that should additional wagons be required, the company will easily access more wagons from neighbouring countries.
“We have existing agreements with our colleagues in neighbouring countries like South Africa and should we require more wagons, we will be able to hire and respond quickly to the increase in tonnage,” Mr Musonda said
He further stressed that the introduction of the SI is not about monopolising or baby- sitting the railway sector but optimising the use of rail transport.
Mr Musonda in his presentation told the meeting that ZRL has made progress in the rehabilitation programme of the rail- track and rolling stock.
TAZARA Managing Director Bruno Ching’andu in his presentation said the bi-national railway firm has positioned itself for the enactment of the SI that will see a levelled playing field in the transportation of heavy and bulk cargo.
Eng. Ching’andu highlighted on the progress that TAZARA has recorded in the last few months.
The consultative meetings with various stakeholders are an ongoing exercise before the SI is effected.