Azerbaijan uses Lithuanian railway reform model

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 17 /Trend, I.Khalilova/

Azerbaijan Railways JSC has recently finished complete technical inventory of its all assets, said manager of Rail Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, an expert on infrastructure of the World Bank, Gerald Ollivier.  

"Today, the JSC selects a consulting company that will assist in transition to International Financial Reporting Standards. These activities are carried out to reorient the structure of the company's commercial needs," said Ollivier.
Already in February, Azerbaijan Railways Department was transformed into a closed joint-stock company.

"Next year serious discussions will be conducted about the period and mechanisms of company's transformation into a holding company - said Ollivier. - This issue is less fundamental as compared to ensuring a transparent and effective functioning of the newly established structure of the railway."

There are different models of transformation of the railway in the world, he said. But in all cases it needs to be based on local circumstances, environment, and especially transport, the WB expert believes. The model introduced in Azerbaijan is close to the Lithuanian model, which is recognized by the European Union as a successful model for reforming the railway, and the whole process of reform in Lithuania took seven years.

He said Azerbaijan is interested in completing this process in a much shorter period than it was in other countries.
In the medium-term period, the Government of Azerbaijan is planning to invest about one billion manat in the improvement of the railway infrastructure of the country.

Of the total investments, $450 million (along with Azerbaijan's participation share, the project is estimated at $673.8 million) was allocated as a credit to Rail Trade and Transport Facilitation Project in Azerbaijan. WB funds will be spent on the electrification of the railway on the stretch from Baku to the Georgian border, the acquisition of locomotives.  

On July 6, 2010, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev approved the State railway system development program in Azerbaijan in 2010-2014.

Official rate on July 17 is 0.8036 AZN/USD.

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