The government is mulling over different options to fix governance issues of cash-bleeding Pakistan Railways (PR) while approving modernisation of rail mainline project with an estimated cost of $9.248 billion under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC.
As the third party evaluator, the World Bank (WB) had raised issue of governance and debt servicing for making the project successful. After deferment of the project a couple of times, the government has once again placed it on the agenda of an important meeting for getting approval tomorrow.
The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) is scheduled to meet on June 3, 2020 just ahead of the Annual Plan Coordination Committee (APCC) because the government wants to make ML-1 as part of the next fiscal year’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for 2020-21.
The government is considering options to hand over Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of Pakistan Railways under this project to a Chinese firm for a certain period so that it could be run on professional lines.
“This project will not be successful without the reform of the railway sector in Pakistan. The implementation of the Pakistan Railways Strategic Plan (PRSP) is a pre-requisite to the success of this Project as well as the improvement of the quality and financial sustainability of the railway sector in general in Pakistan,” the WB in its assessment stated