In addition to providing a voluntary separation scheme (VSS) to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) workers, the Government plans to set up another body called ‘Mainline-1 Authority’ for the smooth implementation of the $6.8bn China-funded Karachi to Peshawar railway route.
It is part of the structural reforms to restructure and improve core economic governance structures of Dr. Ishrat Husain, the advisor to the prime minister on restructuring and institutional reforms.
The National Economic Council’s (Ecnec) Executive Committee, headed by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the finance and revenue advisor to the prime minister, is scheduled to approve on Wednesday (today) the upgrade and enhancement of 1,733 km Mainline-1 (ML-1). Upon completion, the project is planned to increase the passenger and freight trains speed to 160 km and 140 km per hour, respectively.
The Prime Minister approved Pakistan Railways’ restructuring proposal to carve out, in addition to Freight Traffic Management Company, Passenger Traffic Management Company and Infrastructure Management Company, the Railway Holding Company on the model of Pakistan Electric Power Company as an umbrella organization.
The government also agreed to outsource 15 passengers, and two freight trains, and shortly public-private partnership (PPP) projects for the production and management of railway land and stations will be launched.
The Central Development Working Party had estimated the project cost at $7.2bn in June this year, and referred it for formal approval to Ecnec.
The turnaround strategy for the PIA was approved, in which the Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) would approve a Strategic Business Plan within the current month. In the current month, a human resource rationalization plan will also be put before the ECC for approval before providing VSS to PIA employees.
Meanwhile, a committee headed by finance secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch was tasked to finalize the PIA’s Balance Sheet, which is bloated with government guarantees and local and foreign loans and liabilities, within this month. On top of that, the airline’s non-core operations will be completely segregated by December 2020.
The Federal Government has already agreed to maintain 324 operational bodies out of 441. Of the remaining 10 entities will be allocated to the provinces and related departments, while nine entities will be notified for wind-up or liquidation and 17 others will be grouped together.
A total of 43 institutions will be privatized or moved to Sarmaya-i-Pakistan, and the process is supervised regularly by a cabinet implementation committee.