Sri Lanka tax payers spend Rs204bn on rail over 5-years; Rs31bn in losses

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has spent Rs204 billion on a state-run rail system, and run losses of Rs30.4 billion, before accounting for any depreciation for capital expenditure, with season ticket holders in particular contributing little, official data show.

In 2014, Sri Lanka pumped Rs53.3 billion to the Department of Railways, including Rs36.4 billion in capital expenditure and ran an operating loss of Rs11.0 billion.

In 2015, tax payers pumped in Rs44.4 billion and the rail network lost Rs7.7 billion without taking any depreciation into account, despite diesel prices coming down.

Sri Lanka railways only earned Rs6.3 billion in passenger and freight revenues in 2015, up from Rs5,909 billion a year earlier.

Out of Rs5,174 million of passenger revenue, season ticket holders paid only Rs1,010 million or quarter of the revenue, despite accounting for 66.6 million or exactly half the rides.

A full three quarters of the revenue, or Rs4.1 billion, came from regular ticket holders, who also took 66.6 million rides.

In 2015, a salary hike pushed salaries and wages spending to Rs8.1 billion, up from Rs6.2 billion.

Workers also increased from 16,893 to 17,634.

But the railway department said there was not enough skilled workers. (Colombo/Sept21/2016)

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