The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has submitted a proposal to the government to support the state-owned railway infrastructure company Estonian Railways with EUR 8 million from the Rail Baltic railway project and road management in order to maintain the budgetary balance of infrastructure companies.
Estonian Railways must be supported as, according to the Estonian Railways Act and an EU directive, the state is obligated to ensure the budgetary balance of public railway operators in order to ensure the quality of the services on offer, Indrek Laineveer, head of the Railways Department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, declared.
According to the official, the ministry has proposed financing Estonian Railways with EUR 8 million this year, with the funds coming from two sources: the ministry intends to take EUR 5 million from the delay in activities of the Rail Baltic railway project and EUR 3 million from the decrease in the prices of road management contracts.
“This proposal was sent to the Ministry of Finance by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and it would enter into force if the Riigikogu decided to amend the 2017 State Budget Act,” Laineveer explained. “This way, the state can ensure the budgetary balance of the railway infrastructure company with resources that would be left unused elsewhere.”
Altogether 12.5 million tons of freight was transported on Estonian Railways infrastructure in 2016, down by 18.7% YoY. The company saw its business revenue drop by 10.6%, to EUR 43.3 million, while the company’s net loss increased by 70.9%, totaling EUR 10.8 million. (ERR/Business World Magazine)