Argentine Trains: They predict losses of nearly $ 100,000 million and will add 2,000 employees

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The Operatore delle Ferrovie dello Stato (OFSE) is the holding company that manages and manages passenger and freight trains that cross the country. This Thursday, its action plan and budget for the year 2022 were published in the Official Gazette. The numbers, predictably, continue to be severely lacking.

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Article 2 of Resolution 676/2002 does not require further clarification. “Estimate the sum of three thousand five hundred eight million nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand six hundred and ninety-two pesos ($ 3,508,969,692) for operating income and note the sum of ninety-nine thousand three hundred and forty million thirteen thousand eight hundred and six pesos ($ 99,340,013,806), the operating costs were approved, and consequently the Operating Loss was approved in ninety-five thousand eight hundred thirty-one million forty-four thousand one hundred and fourteen pesos ($ 95,831,044,114). “ .

In other words, the company will lose at a rate of 262 million pesos per day, equivalent to 2 million dollars a day, taking this year’s average exchange rate. This figure could grow from budget deviations (more Treasury transfers than originally planned) due to the effect of inflation.

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The operational red of the OFSE contributes substantially to the fiscal gap represented by the operational losses of state-owned companies. Clarione systematically reported on this point. State-owned companies have accumulated an operating deficit of $ 872 million in the first quarter of 2022 alone.Companies operating under the control of the nation-state are an important part of the fiscal deficit that government accounts have been dragging on for years. Last year this collection of 34 government-run companies lost about 3,800 million dollars, a figure equal to 0.8% of GDP.

The Argentine railway system is the country’s largest employer. In May of this year, Clarione collected data provided by the company itself: Trenes Argentinos – which is the system that manages passenger trains in the metropolitan, regional and long-distance area – has 24,012 employees. In addition, the Argentinos Freight trains (4,500 employees); Argentine Train Infrastructure (750 employees) and Human Capital of Argentine Trains (840 employees). Added together, they give a total of 30,102 employees who depend on the railway system.

Despite heavy losses and significant number of employees, the company warns that it is employing more people and will close the year 2022 with an increase of 2,000 positions. The decision seems to contradict the government’s order to freeze positions in the central administration and in companies that depend on the state.

They justify it like this: “The change in the cost of labor and in the budget presented for the year 2022 compared to the year 2021 is due to the estimate of the hiring of personnel which makes it possible to strengthen the provision of the service throughout the national territory, thus contributing to work recovery. In this sense, an increase in operating personnel is estimated at a rate of one hundred and sixty-seven (167) workers per month, essential to meet the growing operational needs of the company ”.

OFSE is led by Martín Marinucci and from now on depends on the Ministry of Transport, a 100% massist area. In 2021, 62% of the company’s income (adding its own plus Treasury contributions) was used to pay salaries.

The red numbers have a primary explanation. The fares of train tickets (urban and medium and long distance) are heavily subsidized, that is, the passenger pays no more than 10-15% of the price he would have to pay if the subsidies did not exist. The increases that took place this year and those announced by the end of 2022 hardly change this situation. After all, tariff hikes are far behind inflation.

For the OFSE authorities the company’s financial statement approach is different from any other company. In the work plan they say this clearly. When referring to the “Profitability and results” indicate: “The objective of the Operadora Ferroviaria Sociedad del Estado will focus on substantially increasing the social profitability generated by the provision of this essential public service. In this sense, through the best use of public resources, intended to support the Operator’s operational functioning, a set of essential actions will be developed to provide an excellent passenger transport service “.

The service of excellence can be verified daily by the millions of passengers who use the trains. Between April and June 2022 -official data- only 75% of the scheduled trains circulated. In other words, one out of four trips has not been made.

Between 2000 and 2019, metropolitan trains carried an annual average of 384 million passengers. The line carrying the most passengers is Roca (33.1%), followed by the Sarmiento line (22.5%), Miter (15.5%), San Martín (10.9%), Belgrano Norte (8.5%) ), Urquiza (6%), Belgrano Sur (3.2%) and Tren de la Costa (0.3%).

In recent times, the emphasis is on the “recovery” of services, such as the one that goes from the Retiro to Justo Daract (San Luis) or the one from Rosario to Cañada de Gómez. In all cases these are journeys that cost less than half of what you have to pay on the bus, but last between two and three times as long.

Source: Clarin

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