Lahore : A three day long interactive session between Pakistan Railways and Asian Development Bank kicked off here at Railways Headquarters Lahore to discuss implementation of Pakistan Railways strategic plan and other avenues for future development of rail network in Pakistan.
Three days discussion would encompass the investment strategies, finding opportunities for revenue raise and technical assistance from ADB in different areas.
Pakistan Railways would focus on track access policy, public private partnership avenues and integration of different units like freight Transport Company and other mechanical, passenger and freight companies during the session.
“We understand needs and priorities of respective offices under new government. We are happy to learn that new government prioritizes the economic development of Pakistan through Railways which is indeed necessary”. Senior transport specialist and team leader for Railways Mr Ko Sakamota told the participants.
Additional General Manager Traffic Abdul Hameed Razi briefed that in coming days Pakistan Railways is determined to fetch revenue through freight, thus focus on freight is prime priority and we are open to local investments in this area.
“We are noting directions of new government which is careful about borrowing for very understandable reasons. We are here to suggest how a limited borrowing can bring change, the huge organization can’t be improved in a short span of time, and we have to move step by step in right direction. We are here to assist you prioritize and find avenues within your given limits. Pakistan has market for oil, coal and other materials for transportation. All this will take time along with capacity, quality and consistent policy approach. ADB wants to assist in prioritizing private investments to create more revenue streams.” An ADB official told the participants.
The session mainly revolves around implementation of Pakistan Railways Strategic Plan. In October 2016 Ministry for Railways requested ADB to provide support for formulation of PRSP (Pakistan Railways Strategic Plan). In this regard a high level workshop was held with ADB in December 2016 followed by many interactive sessions resulting formulation of Pakistan Railways Strategic Plan.
The Railways have been working together with ADB team at different levels to finalize the said plan. The draft of much needed transport plan was shared with cabinet on 22ndMay 2018 which was returned with comments for getting input from all stakeholders i.e. relevant ministries and department.
The ADB team leader told Railways that they are anticipating approval of this strategic plan by cabinet. We can support Railways on implementation once the policy is approved and Railway is ready to proceed. “We can discuss how to prioritize investments and align them in a better way to ensure sustainable development.” He said.