GOVERNMENT will in the next four years undertake a comprehensive rehabilitation of the Zambia Railways mainline at a cost of US$1.3 billion to enhance operational efficiency.
Minister of National Development and Planning Lucky Mulusa said Zambia will also pursue the revitalisation of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) at an estimated cost of US$1.2 billion.
Mr Mulusa said the construction of new rail lines and rehabilitation of existing ones will reduce the cost of freight, and increase the tonnage being carried.
He said during the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP) period, Government will also begin construction of the Chipata-Petauke-Serenje railway line at a cost of US$2.2 billion to complete the link from the port of Nacala to the existing railway line in the country.
This is contained in the 2017-2021 SNDP, which President Lungu launched last week.
“Further, focus will be on the development of attendant infrastructure, acquisition of rolling stocks and other equipment, as well as improving the management of the railway system,” he said.
Mr Mulusa said in the SNDP, Government will also focus on acquiring aircraft to serve domestic, regional and inter-continental routes.
He said arrangements will also be made to acquire cargo planes that will assist in exporting agricultural produce to markets in the region and beyond.
Mr Mulusa said during the planning period, Government will also continue to develop toll gates and collect road user charges to finance its programmes in the road sub-sector as well as pursuing public private partnership as a financing mechanism for road construction.