Infrastructure development in economic crisis and recovery : the rail cargo sector in Zimbabwe since 2000.
Takundwa, Dianah Rumbidzai.
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The study sought to investigate infrastructure development in economic crisis and recovery, with specific regard to the rail cargo sector in Zimbabwe since 2000. The research was prompted by firstly, the need to assess the current situation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), secondly, to examine the root cause of the challenges being faced by the National Railways of Zimbabwe and lastly, to review the plans going forward to resolve the challenges. In the study, a sample of 17 respondents was selected. Questions were used to guide the interview schedule. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and was presented and analysed using thematic analysis. The findings were then interpreted in relation to research objectives and questions. The research findings showed that most of the challenges that were being experienced by the National Railways of Zimbabwe were as a result of the economic meltdown of the Zimbabwean economy. It is evident from the findings that the rail cargo in Zimbabwe can be improved if the parastatal can be given autonomy to run the day to day operations without political interference from the government. The results further suggest that the National Railways of Zimbabwe can be in a position to breakeven or become financially viable if the government, who is the major shareholder, opens up lines or credit and helps secure strategic partners who will bring in capital. In light of the above findings, the study recommends that the government explore more private sector participation and private concession options as this will help the National Railways of Zimbabwe improve its current challenges. Secondly, the 1997 Railway Act has to be signed and officialised so as to enable the organisation to operate commercially. Thirdly, the staff composition and the election of the Board of Directors should be revisited so as to engage to stakeholders in promoting transparency, integrity and efficiency. Lastly, the National Railways of Zimbabwe needs to revive its Railway Motor Services Private Limited because it will help the organisation to cut down on competition from the road sector.
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