ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), a state-owned think tank affiliated with the Planning Commission, has discovered that 115,000 Pakistan Railways retirees who have not been verified are receiving an annual pension of Rs35 billion.
In a statement released on Sunday, PIDE said that their research revealed that throughout the five years between 2015 and 2020, Railways losses totaled a staggering Rs144 billion.
As one of the top 10 loss-making state-owned businesses in Pakistan, Pakistan Railways was recommended to undergo radical institutional reforms by the PIDE study.
The losses included a Rs44 billion shortfall announced in 2020, which included a Rs36 billion debt for 120,000 employees’ railroad pensions. The report stated that during that year, the government offered a Rs45bn subsidy to help reduce the deficit and pension liability.
The report stated that “the fierce competition from road transport and the failure of PR to adopt a customer-centric business plan due to a convoluted bureaucratic structure has led to an ineffective, underfunded, and overstaffed public agency running in losses over the last 35 years.”
The study stated that there are also 115,000 unverified PR retirees who receive Rs35 billion annually.
A biometric verification system for retirees has been suggested to authenticate these people. The government has proposed a pension shortfall for Pakistan Railways. A wage and pension commission has been established, and it must consider not only railroads but also other public firms.
In addition, the Pakistan Railways has 178,000 acres, of which 145,000 are used for business operations and 33,000 are “rights of way” that belong to the Pakistan Railways.
Both the price and the rent paid for this land are too low. There are two possibilities for using this auxiliary land.