: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Ukraine should remain patient in its craving for systemic reforms in railway industry – Balczun

Ukrzaliznytsia CEO Wojciech Balczun pointed out that the reform of the national railways takes time and given the scale of ”pathologies, unimaginable in the West”, the process may take years.

Ukraine needs a lot of patience in order to implement quality systemic reforms in the railway industry, which will take years, said Chairman of the Board of Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railways) Wojciech Balczun, according to the company press service.

”If it [Ukraine] needs just some nice slogans and PR, with preservation of existing [corrupt] schemes and pathologies, then you need to hire a Ukrainian manager, well-rooted in local realities,” Balczun said.

The statement noted ”the scale of pathology, unimaginable in the West” as Balczun stressed that the reform process can take years, provided full political support of company management`s actions.

“Ukrzaliznytsia is a great company with great potential. But at the same time, this company is also a regular political prey and a source of a huge number of schemes. For many weeks I`ve been hearing rumors that  some media campaign is being prepared to be launched against me. I should have expected this as we are now starting to gain real control at Ukrzaliznytsya and, increasingly, we are starting to be able to make things work in the interest of the national railways, not only to let external suppliers / intermediaries make some money,” said the Ukrzaliznytsia CEO.

Balchun stressed that the management had increased the number of suppliers involved in tenders for the supply of diesel fuel, it lowered fuel prices, began repairs of locomotives and railcars. In addition, Ukrzaliznytsya started to repair cars at its own production facilities and capacities of the Ukrainian enterprises.

”There are hundreds of such initiatives. The argument that we have UAH 7 billion in our accounts and we do nothing is one of the most outrageously false ones I`ve ever heard in my life. But what about our debts, our technical default, procurement procedures, financial results, the stability of the company in relation to financial institutions, our cash flow? People should know the basic principles of economics. My opponent`s train is already departing, and this might be the last chance for them to claim that Balczun has failed and has not delivered [reform],” said the company CEO.

As UNIAN reported earlier, in the second half of November, some media cited their sources in the Cabinet that Ukrzaliznytsia EO Balczun would resign because he did not provide a comprehensive plan and long-term vision of reform and further development of the railways in Ukraine. In turn, Balczun denounced these rumors.

Earlier, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Volodymyr Omelyan criticized Balczun for dragging reforms in the company and also accused him of the fact that the company had not submitted for approval its long-term development plan. At the same time, Balczun reported of sabotage of reformist initiatives in Ukrzaliznytsia at all levels of the company. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said that the government should provide full political support to the management of Ukrzaliznytsia headed by Balczun to ensure reform.


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