Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
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The government has earmarked Rs 40 billion for Pakistan Railways (PR) for the fiscal year 2017-18 to meet its losses against Rs 37 billion allocated for 2016-17 as Railways earnings witnessed a decline in the current fiscal year, revealed budget documents. The government has earmarked a total of Rs 82.9 billion for PR for the fiscal year 2017-18 including Rs 42.9 billion for development schemes and Rs 40 billion to meet losses.

The government had earmarked Rs 79 billion for PR for the fiscal year 2016-17 including Rs 37 billion under the head of demands for grants and appropriation to meet the current expenditure. Officials revealed to Business Recorder that Pakistan Railways has prepared working paper on income and performance, according to which a revenue target of Rs 53 billion has been set for the next fiscal year (2017-18).

Railways revenue remained Rs 36 billion during 2015-16 and is expected to generate Rs 41 billion by the end of current fiscal year. When the incumbent government took over in 2012-13, Railways revenue was Rs 18 billion. Gross earning, passenger traffic, freight carried and freight tonnes were improved by 14.6 percent, 4.5 percent, 38.9 percent and 44.6 percent respectively in the fiscal year 2016-17 over last year. However, during July-March 2016-17, the gross earning and freight tonnes remained lower by 0.6 percent and 3.2 percent respectively over the corresponding period of the last year, while passenger traffic and freight carried improved by 7.0 percent and 4.7 percent respectively. During 2015-16 (June-March), Railways revenue remained Rs 26.436 billion, but during the same period in the current fiscal year 2016-17 (June-March), the revenue declined to Rs 26.268 billion. The Railways has a huge employees-related expenditure amounting to Rs 27.327 billion for the next fiscal year against Rs 25.543 billion for the outgoing year, which was later revised to Rs 25.324 billion.

Operating cost for 2017-18 is estimated at Rs 19.376 billion against the revised Rs 16.773 billion for the current fiscal year. The PR is to make payment of Rs 455.65 million in terms of loans and advances while Rs 800 million to be paid in terms of interest on loans in the upcoming fiscal year.

The Railways will spend Rs 29.211 billion in terms of employees' retirement benefits against Rs 20.5 billion for the current fiscal year. The PR will have to pay Rs 188.225 million for catering to the transfers and postings of its employees. The government has earmarked Rs 42.9 billion under the PSDP for next year 2017-18. Allocations for the next year in the key projects include: (a) Rs 15.8 billion for the procurement/manufacturing of 75 new locomotives; (b) and Rs 4.5 billion for the procurement/manufacturing of 830 high capacity bogie freight wagons and 250 passenger coaches. The backbone of Pakistan's Railways infrastructure is the Peshawar to Karachi Railways - technically called the ML-1. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with China for its improvement and up-gradation. This is a massive project which will introduce the next generation of railways in Pakistan. An amount of Rs 4.2 billion for preliminary design/drawings for up-gradation/rehabilitation of ML-1 and establishment of dry port near Havelian has been earmarked in next year's budget.



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