Former PPPDA MP Alexandru Slusari asks that the new Government should urgently discuss the situation at Moldova’s Railways (CFM) in one of its first meetings. In a post on his Facebook page, the former MP says Romania and Ukraine offer Moldova to restore the international circulation of trains, but the administration of CFM refuses to do it, arguing the railcars are in a deplorable state, IPN reports.
“The Chisinau-Odessa-Chisinau route is one of the most profitable routes for Moldova’s Railways in summer. Can’t 20 cars be repaired so as to significantly increase the incomes of the strategic enterprise, even with borrowed money, based on a concrete and real plan for restoring the circulation? Instead, thousands of employees, who during six months haven’t been paid salaries, are sent to banks to raise loans,” Alexandr Slusari posted on Facebook, noting the movement of international trains was halted in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and no one then said something about the state of railcars.
Contacted by IPN for a comment, CFM director general Oleg Tofilat said the restoration of the movement of international trains, including on the Chisinau-Odessa-Chisinau route, will be possible not earlier than this September. “The trains that ran on the Chisinau-Odessa-Chisinau route need to be extensively repaired. To purchase spare parts, we need to hold tender contests that imply time and money. There is also one more question, what will happen if we invest in all these and pandemic restrictions are imposed again?” asked Oleg Tofilat.
He noted the trains that transport passengers are not profitable because they yield modest revenues, of 100,000-150,000 lei a month. “When we speak about the resumption of the transit of iron ore, which we agreed with Ukraine last month, we refer to 4.5-5 million lei a month.”
Oleg Tofilat described as exaggerated Alexandru Slusari’s assertion that thousands of employees of the enterprise, who during six months haven’t been paid salaries, are sent to banks to raise loams. He noted that over two months since he took over as director of CFM, a part of the salary arrears have been cleared. “In June, we fully paid the salaries for December, while in July – for January. We have yet salary arrears and this is the situation. In August, we started to pay inversely, for June first. We aim to ensure stability and to monthly pay at least one salary. The arrears will be settled gradually, while we sell the unused assets. Regrettably, the operational activity of Moldova’s Railways continues to generate losses, even if they are much lower than earlier.”
Oleg Tofilat noted that in June, he advised the employees to take out bank loans as a solution. “In terms of corporate management, we braced for the riskiest scenarios – that we will not have a clear parliamentary majority and will have to cope without a Government during four-five months. So as not to allow the employees of CFM to become hostage to the political developments, the solution was for the employees to get salaries from banks in the form of a loan, while the loan servicing costs were to be covered by Moldova’s Railways.”