The Iraqi Transport Ministry said on Sunday evening that the national rail company loses 72 billion Iraqi Dinars ($62m) each year due to high payroll expenditure and low annual revenues of less than 12bn Iraqi Dinars ($10m).
Speaking to AKnews, the General Director of the Iraqi National Rail Company, Jawad al-Kharasani, complained that the network’s meager revenues do not cover the salaries of the railway’s 11,000 employees.
“For more than seven years, the railway has depended on loans from banks and the Finance Ministry which reached 360bn IQD at the end of 2010 … the only solution is the privatization of the company.”
The Iraqi government announced last April plans to participate in the regional establishment of a rail network linking the Mediterranean to the Arabic Gulf and Eastern Asian countries.
Before handing over the ministry to Kharasani, the outgoing transport minister, Amir Abdul Jabbar, warned that the implementation of the railway project would severely reduce the traffic currently using Iraq’s maritime ports.