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Engineer Brian Mushimba revives Zambian Airways

Engineer Brian Mushimba revives Zambian Airways

February 05
11:29 2018

Brian Mushimba and Communications Director Yese Bwalya with Zambia Railway Board Chairperson Lubinda Linyama – Picture by MTC Zambia

By Derrick Sinjela

TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Brian Mushimba is elated following cabinet approval to resuscitate a national flag carrier so as to boost Zambia’s hospitality potential.

Mr. Mushimba, a Patriotic Front (PF) Kankoyo Member of Parliament (MP), Copperbelt Province allayed fears of political interference once the airline is resuscitated on 24th October 2018.

Braving fiery questions on a Sunday 4th February 2018, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Sunday Interview anchored by Grevazio Zulu, Mushimba applauded Government investment of US$1.7bn on infrastructure development of the aviation industry; restating that time is ripe for Zambia to revive the National Airline.

A delighted Mushimba reiterated that Cabinet chaired by President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu had approved the re-establishment of the National Airline on December 18,2017, with Government through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) holding 55 per cent and Ethiopian Airlines having 45 per cent equity in the rebranded Zambian Airways.

“The New national airline will bring about competition in the Aviation industry and new domestic and regional route will be introduced. Once the National Airlines is established, the move will enable socio- economic development by providing downstream or catalytic impacts, particularly in tourism and trade dependent industries

Preaching thinking outside the box, Mushimba allayed fears of political interference, stating that once a board is in place, management will be divorced from Government.

“Pride and increased traffic within the The Government will stress independence. Political will exists and interference will not be tolerated as we shall endeavour to let corporate governance prevail. We want to run it as a business to run as a business.

Mushimba says Government will through the Ministry of Transport and Communications Inject US$120m into the upgrade of Mfuwe Airport, while Kenneth Kaunda International Airport is near completion at 65 per cent complete and scheduled to be completed by 2019.

“To accelerate National Economic Development, Government is committed to improve the transport and enabler infrastructure in the Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Lusaka, Luapula, Muchinga, Northern, North-Western, Southern and Western Provinces to position in Zambia as a regional transport hub going into the future.

On rail transport, Mushimba says Government mission is threefold; to increase time taken from 40 kilometres per hours to 120 kilometres per hour, to rehabilitate the rail line and thirdly to move 30 per cent of Zambian cargo through the train system.

Responding to Zulu’s question, Mushimba argued that it is rather unfair to categorically brand Zambia Railway limited as a failed project.

“I suppose that is an overstatement as the bulk of the money was prudently used. One must note that these parastatals had a backlog of financial obligation ahead of Zambia accessing the Euro Bond used. ZRL invested prudently, as this prudence is attested by improved rail time from the 10 kilometres rate to 40 kilometres and a long-term goal of 120 kilometres,” advised Mushimba.

On the telecommunications sector, Muushimba says construction of 1009 towers countrywide is indicative that a Government is not going to shut social media-Facebook in particular.

Following a tart Grevazio Zulu onslaught that perhaps Mushimba was misquoted when media outlets got flooded with speculations that access to Facebook was going to be closed; Muushimba retorted that focus is on productive usage of social media.

“No, No, No, I did not put it that way and I suppose it was misconstrued as all I said was that let us use Face book, Twitter, LinkedIn  and Instagram or WhatsApp. If one is keeping in touch and establishing how a child in boarding school , or a relative and best of kin or kith is; it is good buut once it is pornography or trying to extract  someone Mahogany travel details on; then the law will visit you,” warned Mushimba.

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