The government of Zambia is to spend K1 billion to facilitate a fully-fledged feasibility study for the Second Phase of the Chipata-Mchinji railway line.
Delivering a policy statement to Parliament recently Communications minister Professsor Geoffrey Lungwangwa disclosed that this phase of the railway entails the extension of the line to join the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) line.
The completion of the second phase is expected to increase economies of scale on the Nacala Development Corridor, especially with more cargo such as copper and other minerals being transported to the port of Nacala in Mozambique.
“My ministry has allocated K1 billion for operations and management of the Chipata-Mchinji Railway line. A further K1 billion has been allocated for the full feasibility study and detailed designs for the second phase of the railway line, which entails extending the railway line to join TAZARA, possibly at Mpika or Serenje,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Tanzanian and Zambian governments have agreed to continue supporting TAZARA until a lasting solution to the current challenge is found.
“The government of Zambia and Tanzania will assume outstanding debts to clean up the balance sheet. The two governments further entered into the 14th Protocol with the Chinese government that will provide about $40mn in terms of equipment, technical assistance and materials to enhance the operations of the authority,” Professor Lungwanga noted.
By Nawa Mutumweno