One of the priorities for the new government will be to wind up the National Property Fund (FNM) privatisation agency, Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer) said on Thursday, April 12.
"First and foremost, we concurred with [Economy] Minister [Tomáš Malatinský] that as far as the FNM goes, it's necessary to introduce definitive measures," Fico said on April 12.
"The priority of my government will be the cancellation of this institution because it has lost its relevance. Soon, therefore, the Economy Ministry will submit a proposal for a course of action as to how to shut down FNM. I don't want to talk about any timetables now, but this is an issue that will become one of the priorities for the new cabinet," Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. According to him, the Economy Ministry needs to carry out important duties in the prudent regulation of energy rates for consumers.
"As for further sale of stocks in [Slovakia's gas utility] Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel [SPP], it has become a public secret that SPP's 49-percent stockholder is interested in selling either a portion of or all the shares at its disposal," said Fico, who added that he and Malatinský would be monitoring the situation closely. As the majority owner, the state cannot learn about SPP's proposals from the media or through hearsay, Fico stated. "Therefore, I expect that the meeting between the economy minister and representatives of SPP, mostly German and French stockholders, will bring fruit. We would really welcome it and will do our utmost to change the current system of managerial control within SPP. There is little chance for us to prevent stockholders from selling their shares but we find it absurd that in a company in which the state owns the majority of stocks it doesn't also enjoy a majority on the board of directors."
When the first (1998-2002) government of Mikuláš Dzurinda launched privatisation of strategic industries, it stipulated that the state would retain 51 percent of shares (the only exception being Slovak Telekom, wherein Deutsche Telecom insisted on having a 51-percent share) in them. The buyers, however, were promised managerial control, TASR wrote.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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