Railway Corp finally sees profit

Published: Friday | December 6, 2013 Comments 0

THE DEBT-RIDDEN Jamaica Railway Corporation (JRC) ap-pears to be moving closer to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel with the state-owned entity recording a small operating profit over the last two years.

A perennial burden to tax-payers, the JRC, under the direction of a new board of directors, has introduced a number of measures to stop the financial haemorrhaging of the company.

The cash-strapped entity reduced its operational losses from $68 million in the 2011-2012 financial year to a positive operational profit of $3.5 million for the 2012-2013 year.

"We have budgeted an operational profit of $13.9 million and up to the end of October, we have attained $11.6 million of operational profit," said Joseph A. Matalon, chairman of the JRC.

Matalon, who appeared be-fore Parliament's Public Ad-ministration and Appropria-tions Committee (PAAC), said the board of the JRC was given a policy direction to organise what was a dysfunctional entity that was "in total disarray".

The chairman argued that the corporation had a staff of 140 and it could not be determined what tasks were assigned to these workers.

As part of its drive to cut expenses, the entity carried out a retrenchment exercise and 80 workers lost their jobs.

Matalon divulged that the JRC currently owed the Government $600 million in statutory payments. However, he said the company was seeking to negotiate a debt write-off.

He told the committee that effective October 2012, the JRC was current with statutory payments.

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