Zambia Railways Board, with plans to modernize railway infrastructure, now in place
Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) has announced its new management board which plans to modernize railway infrastructure as part of its master-plan to be implemented in the next year three years.
The board is headed by former Taskforce chairperson Mark Chona and renowned economist Oliver Saasa as his deputy.
Others were Communications and Transport Permanent Secretary Muyenga Antanga and his Commerce and Trade counterpart Stephen Mwansa as well as Finance Permanent Secretary in-charge of Budget Pamela Chibonga.
Others on-board were Solicitor General Musa Mwenye, Road Transport and Safety Agency director Zindaba Soko, a consultant Joram Mwansa, Irene Zeko Mbewe a lawyer, Geoffrey Mulenga a mechanical engineer and Richard Chipanama a former ZRL employee.
Speaking during an induction ceremony in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Chona said the vision of ZRL board in partnership with management was to make the railway industry profitable, efficient and viable according to aspirations of Zambians.
“This is a big task that we have been given especially that President Sata wants to see this railway industry viable. We want to look at what ZRL’s needs, how it will be revamped but we want to promise Zambians that we shall make this industry effectively viable for smoother operations of our trains,” he said.
Mr Chona said the composition of the board was balanced with wealth expertise from skilled members who would put their ideas jointly to uplift welfare of dilapidated railway in the country.
Earlier, Dr Antanga implored the board to be innovative and work prudently to achieve its targeted goals.
“Government is expecting you be to be innovative because we want policies to be implemented effectively to enable this railway industry be revamped for people to start enjoying the trains,” he said
Dr Antanga said Zambians were concerned with the deplorable state of the railway sector infrastructure and that it was incumbent upon the new board to fulfill people’s expectations.
ZRL deputy chairperson Professor Saasa said Zambia’s economic development depended also on the railway sector which could realise profits once revived to full capacity.
He was saddened that despite Zambia recording tremendous economic strides, the railway industry still lagged behind.
And ZRL chief executive officer Clive Chirwa said his management had an ambitious programme of resuscitating the railway and modernizing it in the next three years.
Government recently revoked the concession agreement of the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) and placed it under ZRL.
Meanwhile, Dr Antanga has said the ZRL would embark on an ambitious programme of acquiring state-of-the-art locomotives to make it more viable and reduce hauling of goods on the roads.
He said this when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances at Parliament yesterday UPND Itezhi Tezhi Member of Parliament Greyford Monde.
Dr Atanga said government was also looking at prospects of speeding up the completion of the North Western Railway that would connect the country to the Lobito Bay in Angola.
He said Zambia railways and TAZARA had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve the rail way system in the country.