IMF requires restructuring of CFR SA and CFR Calatori and privatization of CFR Marfa

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) required, following talks with Transport minister Radu Berceanu, the implementation of a programme of staff restructuring and laying off at the companies CFR SA and CFR Calatori (Passengers), as well as the preparation for privatization of CFR Marfa (Freight).

The representatives of IMF are discontent with the way of operation of the railway companies, with the fact that they have spent more than their revenues.

CFR Calatori and CFR SA required the restructuring of the activity in general as well as the diminution of the staff, which is oversized.
At CFR Marfa necessary is the restructuring of the activity, and as a solution, they have offered the privatization of the company somewhere at the end of next year, ” said Berceanu.

The minister mentioned that in the case of of CFR Calatori, necessary is a rise in subsidy, because, in 2008 it reached 1.3 billion lei, and in 2009, it stood at 600 million lei only, which does not allow for the operation of the company.

The minister explained that the rise in the subsidy for CFR Calatori would save the situation in the system, with the money going directly for the use of the infrastructure to CFR SA, and subsequently, the company can pay its debts to the suppliers of electricity, with stand at 1.3 billion lei.

„We had to make redundant some 14,300 employees from the railway companies, we have made redundant so far some 4,600.
The problem is that the money from revenues does not go to investment and the railways repairing, or to the purchase of carriages, but to the salaries of the CFR employees.

We can be in the situation to no longer have money for salaries, although the union leaders threaten us with a fierce strike when they come back from vacation,” said the Transport minister.

As regards CFR Infrastructura company, Berceanu stressed that that its activity has to be redimens ioned, as regards the staff number included.
„I explained to them that even if the staff number is zero, CFR Infrastructura cannot live only for the revenues coming from the tax for using the road infrastructure,” Berceanu also said.

The Transport minister added that at CFR Marfa, the solution is the preparation for privatization and its sale at the end of next year, „as CFR Marfa is in a competition with other operators, foreigners firstly.

We will attempt a privatization in very good conditions, with the money remaining in the system, we cannot use them for CFR Calatori and CFR Infrastructura.”

The MTI official reminded that another discontent of the IMF officials is the 24 percent raise of the salaries of the Metrorex employees, this year, following a decision made in Nov 2008.

The IMF representatives have shown discontent, and they are right to do so, with the fact that in a year of crisis, the salaries have gone up by over 20 percent.

We will discuss the topic, but the solution is either a fall in salaries to a half, for the expenses to be equal with the revenues, or to oblige the Metrorex employees to return with the money taken in advance from the cash office,” said the Transport minister.

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