PLANS to restructure Pakistan Railways have been announced by the government. As an interim measure, the PR board has been disbanded, and its functions assumed by the Ministry of Railways. A new 15-member advisory board is to be formed, including the PR General Manager, Finance Director, the Managing Directors of the four business units created in 1998, and at least three representatives from the private sector.

Railways Ministry Secretary Javed Ashraf says the ministry is putting forward new restructuring proposals to the country’s Chief Executive, General Pervaiz Musharraf. These envisage strengthening the PR management structure to improve co-ordination between the different businesses. Ashraf envisages two main divisions, covering administration/maintenance and operations. He envisages that this would enable the business unit Managing Directors, redesignated as Additional General Managers, to concentrate on service delivery.

Ashraf is also seeking approval for the railway to raise its own investment funding through land sales - at present any money raised this way has to be returned to the national Treasury. Another option may be to raise private funding through reviving plans to float some of the business units.