President Hakainde Hichilema has assured that government is committed to the rehabilitation of the country’s entire railway stretch as it is cardinal to the country’s economic transformation.
President Hichilema says Zambia’s economic agenda can be attained through having a quality rail infrastructure as it has an advantage of accommodating heavy loads.
ZANIS reports that the Head of State was speaking at State House today, when he met a Swedish trade delegation led by the Swedish Ambassador to Zambia, Johan Hallenborg.
Mr Hichilema said the rail system is important for the survival of the road network in the country as it is able to accommodate heavy loads.
“This is crucial for many reasons, but also that it can carry heavier loads, it can also protect our roads from the damage caused through carrying heavy loads on the roads. So to transit this cargo onto the rail system is very important to us,” Mr Hichilema said.
He explained that his administration has an ambition of increasing copper production to 3 million metric tonnes from the current 830 thousand metric tonnes and that the rail sector will play a bigger part.
“We have our own agenda. For example to carry up to 3 million tonnes of material in the mining sector, in the next decade or so the infrastructure like this must really be up to speed and appropriate to allow us to achieve some of our economic targets, such as the increase in production of our minerals,” President Hichilema said.
Speaking earlier, Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Johan Hallenborg disclosed that the first phase of the project to rehabilitate the rail infrastructure from Chingola to Livingstone is almost complete.
Mr Hallenborg said the project once complete will create employment for the Zambian people adding that the project will contribute to helping Zambia transition to a green economy.
He said comprehensive assessments have been undertaken and are of international standards.
“One of the main purposes of the visit is to reconfirm the Swedish government’s commitment to this railway project. This project was developed in close collaboration between Sweden and Zambia. And it offers a robust and reliable holistic solution for rehabilitating your most important stretch of railway,” he said
Minister of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali and his Finance and National Planning counterpart Situmbeko Musokotwane were present at the meeting.