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COVID-19 grounds Zambia Railways

ZAMBIA Railways Limited managing director Christopher Musonda says no passenger train has moved since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Zambia.

Musonda said it has not been easy for the company to pay salaries during the COVID19 pandemic.

He said this during the post labour day awards for Zambia Railway Limited workers in Ndola on Friday afternoon.

“It has not been easy for us as a company through the period of COVID-19 to pay salaries. We can’t afford to see the same things, but if we remain focused, we can see the change. 75 per cent of the business in this up and down operation is over border business,” said Musonda. “All our inputs and exports come from the borders. When COVID-19 came, our business was threatened. The inputs of sulphur, coal, is imported, the spare parts for the mines come from outside. If you look at the local consumers, it’s the Copperbelt. The activities of Copperbelt sustain us. The impact of COVID-19 is a bigger risk. Northern region inter-mine, we need to manage this challenge.”

He said the company was put under pressure by the closure of borders by neighbouring countries.

“We are put under pressure with our colleagues in other countries where we experienced some border closures. We should be alert to each movement and alert of efficiency. We still have the challenge of the passenger train which is not running now. We need to put in measures so that they start running. Our passenger train is the largest carrier of people on one board.”

“Even when we are doing the work from home, we have made sure that people don’t lose any income. But we are slowly moving away from working from home, and coming back to our offices,” Musonda said.

He said the challenges of COVID-19 had adversely affected business.

“COVID-19 has affected our business adversely, as most of our business sources have had to downsize their operations or close up all together, thereby affecting the supply chain. In other words, it has been difficult to find business during this time.

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