Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) needs US$922 million in order to build capacity and improve its operating efficiency in line with its Strategic Plan for 2018 – 2022, Company Chief Executive Officer Christopher Musonda has disclosed.

Meanwhile, Central Province Permanent Secretary Bernard Chomba has challenged ZRL to come up with ways of raising its own revenue for recapitalisation and not wait upon government to pump in money.

Speaking when Central Province Permanent Secretary toured ZRL workshops and Train Control Centre in Kabwe, Musonda said the company had had a steady growth despite immediate the institution lacking recapitalisation.

“The recapitalisation needed for the next five years according to our business plan is US$922 million. A component of this will basically go towards replacing some of these machines because some of the machines are so old that we can no longer find spares for them. The manufacturers have moved on and are now manufacturing in line with the latest technology,” Musonda said.

Musonda said the railway company was taking measures aimed at keeping abreast with technological changes in the railway sector.

“We need to keep up with technological changes in the railway sector. However, under the circumstances, what we are doing is that when we are procuring, we adjust the specifications in line with the latest technology. So next time we buy a locomotive; the locomotive itself will be equipped with the latest technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, Central Province Permanent Secretary Bernard Chomba challenged ZRL not to wait upon government for their recapitalisation programme.

“I know you are going through a number of challenges; but I want you to know that other companies have gone through similar challenges and yet they have emerged victorious. Don’t wait on government to recapitalise the company. Put plans in place that will help you to raise the money on your own. If you wait on government alone, it will take some time,” Chomba said.

He urged the company to move away from the old way of doing things for it to remain relevant and viable in the railway sector.

“This is the time when Zambia Railways has employed some of the best brains in the country. So we expect you to stand above some of these challenges. I know this company has a very rich history. Let us take time to see what we can learn from there and then make decisions so that we revive the company. Zambia Railways has to change for the better. We cannot remain in the old way of doing things,” said Chomba.