New SRT chief vows to cut debt

New SRT chief vows to cut debt

Hua Lamphong railway terminus in Bangkok on April 1. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Hua Lamphong railway terminus in Bangkok on April 1. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The newly appointed governor of the State Railway of Thailand, Nirut Maneephan, has vowed to tackle the agency's mammoth debt of over 100 billion baht.

Speaking after meeting Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Monday, Mr Nirut said he was not intimidated by the ailing company's financial status, before saying that he has his sights set on reversing the losses.

"I'm not worried because I'm here to address [SRT's] losses and debts. But I'll need some time to study the company's rehabilitation plan to steer it clear of further debt," Mr Nirut said on Monday.

The SRT is one of the country's most debt-ridden state enterprises, with accumulated debts in excess of 100 billion baht.

Mr Nirut's nomination as the governor of the 130-year-old state enterprise was recently endorsed by the cabinet. He has yet to sign an official contract, but the signing is expected to take place this week.

Prior to joining the SRT, Mr Nirut worked as a litigation executive at Krungthai Bank. He also served on the board of several state enterprises, and worked as an adviser to the managing director of Thai Airways International (THAI).

He said the first thing he plans to do is to get acquainted with SRT employees and to make it easier to get everyone to agree on how to drive the agency forward.

In addition to tackling the company's gargantuan debt, Mr Nirut said his other top priority is improving SRT staff's welfare.

"SRT employees need to be well-taken care of, because they're the workhorse which enables us to deliver services and bring in money," he said.

When asked about the status of SRT's mega-projects, Mr Nirut said the projects will carried out in accordance with the Transport Ministry's guidelines and the government's policies.

A source said Mr Nirut is expected to begin his work on April 24.

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