The Minister of Transportation also mentioned that she rejected the IMF proposal for starting insolvency procedures in debt-ridden companies like CFR Marfa and CFR Calatori.
Grup Feroviar Roman (GFR) wouldn’t have had the complete sum for taking over CFR Marfa, believes the minister of Transportation, Ramona Manescu, who announced that the ministry has not refunded yet to the company controlled by businessman Gruia Stoica the EUR 10 M guarantee submitted during the privatisation process.
“They probably had promises. They probably already had commitments with banks, with investment banks, but I do not believe that they had all the money at the respective moment,” the minister said yesterday on Pro TV. “I do not negotiate. This still is the task of Mr. Ghibu (Cristian Ghibu, state secretary with the Ministry of Transportation and head of the privatisation commission for CFR Marfa), who is reporting to me and who has talks with GFR. (…) I gave him the mandate, as the privatisation consultants said, to repay this guarantee. Now he probably still discusses with GFR, I cannot say if this guarantee will be eventually paid or not,” Manescu added.
According to Manescu, after she was appointed as Minister of Transportation she did not have to participate in privatisation talks, as they were already finalised. She mentioned that, in legal terms, the procedure could not have continued because some clauses were not fulfilled – the Competition Council did not provide an opinion, while some lender banks did not submit their acceptance – while on the other hand the deadline agreed with the IMF could not be pushed back.
Ramona Manescu explained that she rejected the IMF’s proposal to send into insolvency some companies with debts, like CFR Marfa and CFR Calatori, that she is waiting for money from the budget and for management measures aimed at increasing the profit, otherwise the restructuring will be conducted “downward from the top,” Mediafax reports. “The IMF accepted our objection, on condition that we restructure and increase the profitability, prove that we can achieve it without insolvency,” the minister added.
Manescu said that “a lot of debts” have gathered at the Ministry of Transportation, along with many problems that were unsolved for years, which she “inherited” when she took over the mandate, and it is difficult for those who conceive the budget to “sort out” the figures in order to keep deficit under control, at a time when the amount of debts is so high, so the solution should also come from the state budget. On the other hand, the deadline set for profitability-increasing measures is the end of next year, the minister mentioned, adding that she hopes company managers will come with plans to increase profit.
Referring to a different matter, the minister said that the infrastructure of railroads should allow passenger trains to run at 160 km/h, although she does not know whether this speed is actually reached on a Romanian railway, but the target would still be attainable if it weren’t for thefts.
Out of the projects conducted by the ministry in this segment, the modernisation of 204 km of railroad will be completed next year, on the segments Sighisoara – Simeria and Radna – Curtici, Manescu informed.
Transportation Ministry wants to regain control over national roads
Transportation Minister Ramona Manescu believes that it would have been easier if motorways were further administered by her ministry, but she respects the political decision which transferred them to the Department for Infrastructure Projects and Foreign Investment (DPIIS), but she at least expects that national roads will return under the control of the ministry which she manages. As for why these roads have not returned yet to MT, Manescu said that she is not aware of the motives, but she will ask both the premier and Dan Sova. “Roads are with Mr. Sova and a regulation must be drafted that will maintain motorways at Mr. Sova, while returning national roads to the Ministry of Transportation,” Manescu added.
On the other hand, Manescu informed that talks are being held in order to transfer the European funds for national roads to the Regional Operational Programme administered by the Ministry of Development led by Vice-premier Liviu Dragnea, through the POR, a measure she will disagree with.
Minister Manescu also affirms that there are several projects which she would like to see making history, and the project she hopes will be completed during her mandate is the modernisation of Danube ports, which benefits from European funding worth EUR 750 M.