Railways facing deficit of Rs40bn as expenditures rise


ISLAMABAD: Despite tall claims by Federal Minister for Railway Khawaja Saad Rafique of bringing revolutionary changes in the Pakistan Railways (PR), the expenditure of the department has reached Rs90 billion in the ongoing fiscal year 2017-18.

Sources told Pakistan Today that PR is facing a deficit of Rs40 billion which is increasing with the passage of time. According to documents, the government has injected Rs184.5 billion in last five years to keep the Pakistan Railway operational.

The finance ministry had allocated Rs33.5 billion in the first year of incumbent government’s tenure Rs37 billion was given for the next three years and Rs40 billion was provided to the railways in the following year.

On the other hand, the administration of PR has failed to control the expenditure of the department as it has reached to Rs348.867 billion from Rs55.332 billion in the last five years.

The government spent Rs55.332 billion in 2013-14, Rs59.174 billion in 2014-15, Rs63.577 billion in 2015-16, Rs80.78 billion in 2016-17 and Rs90 billion in the ongoing fiscal year 2017-18, documents stated.

Documents also mentioned that the PR earned a profit of Rs181.399 billion in the last five years as Rs22.805 billion was added to railway accounts in the first year, Rs31.9 billion in 2014-15, Rs36.584 billion in 2015-16, Rs40.1 billion in 2016-17 and in the ongoing fiscal year, Pakistan Railways has estimated to get a profit of Rs50 billion.

Presently, the PR has around 75,000 active employees around the country whereas the department is paying pension to over one million pensioners.

Sources said that the government is likely to give Rs30 billion subsidy to PR in the next fiscal year. The government has allocated Rs4 billion for 10 new projects whereas Rs26 billion have been allocated for 26 ongoing projects, they added.

It is pertinent to mention here the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had taken suo motu notice of losses amounting to Rs60 billion that have been incurred by Pakistan Railways.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique had informed the Supreme Court (SC) on April 14 that the revenue of PR had increased and losses decreased during the last five years. He had taken the stance that It can take another 10 to 12 years before things get completely stabilised for the railways.

The CJP ordered a complete audit of Pakistan Railways during the suo motu hearing of alleged Rs60 billion corruptions in the department

The spokesperson of Pakistan Railway said that the department had increased the operations around the country which is why the expenditure had increased. “But we have to see that profit has also increased in the recent year,” he added.