SRT plans to get finances back on track
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has approved a debt rehabilitation plan involving six strategies to increase revenue from core and non-core businesses.
It is to be proposed to the cabinet next year, said Awirut Tongnet, deputy governor of the SRT's Administration Department.
The SRT board agreed to endorse the rehab plan and an operations plan for the 2023 fiscal year on Sept 29. The rehab plan will focus on the SRT's competitive advantages such as dual-track railway construction and train procurement and maintenance. It also aims to turn its core business around, especially in carriage improvements for tourism and cargo-service expansion.
Mr Awirut also said that the rehab plan would enhance non-core businesses, such as expanding small businesses among subsidiaries and building more transport networks for tourism. Organisational reform will also be part of the plan, he added. Moreover, the SRT is looking to bring more electric trains into service.
He added that the rehab plan was revised due to the construction of the dual-track railway which is almost completed. The new railway will enhance the effectiveness of passenger and cargo transport as it is less costly and more eco-friendly. The SRT will forward the rehab plan to the Transport Ministry for review before sending it to the State Enterprise Policy Committee and the cabinet next year.
Mr Awirut said that SRT is two billion baht in debt. He said that the state enterprise wants to see this cleared by the end of 2033.
"The time frame offers a long period for the recovery plan because the SRT management requires plenty of staff and a huge amount of money. To gain more revenue from core and non-core businesses, the SRT must be subsidised by the government, especially in machinery procurement," he said.
Meanwhile, SRT board members had approved a budget for the next fiscal year worth 476 million baht to hire SRT Electrified Train Co to run Red Line train services covering greater Bangkok areas. The contract will last 12 months from October this year to September 2023, Mr Awirut said.