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Alasania stands up for motherland2011-08-17 23:05
Georgian authorities are up to sell all state-owned enterprises. In the near future the shares of strategic facilities - the railway and electric supply systems, as well as the international oil and gas corporation - will be put up for tender. The opposition of the republic reminds Saakashvili that these businesses are public property and don't belong to one political party or a group of high-ranking officials.
Early last week it was reported Georgian enterprises would be put up for sale on London and New York stock exchanges. Georgian PM Nica Gilauri was quick to calm the general public down by stating that small stakes (15,20 and 25%) will be offered for sale assuring that this act will help attract new investments to the country and "inspire Sakartvelo's private enterprises to similar actions" boosting creation of new employments. "Georgian economy enjoys a high level of trust of foreign investors", - he concluded.
This decision the country leaders have taken was predictable. On one hand, Georgia owes an immense external debt to foreign creditors and has no possibility to repay it on the other. Not long ago Gilauri was full of optimism speaking about Eurobonds that will defer payment of the first part of the debt by way of privatization of public corporations, emphasizing success of these securities on the world markets. Now it's time of enterprises that have strategic importance for Georgia's weak economy.
This method of problem solution is not approved by the entire society. For instance, Free Georgia opposition party criticizes plans of Gilauri and his colleagues. "These enterprises are national fortune and part of the national security, so we consider it unacceptable to transfer them to private companies", - the party highlights adding that it was repeatedly recommended by Tbilisi's Western partners that such decisions should be avoided. As for explanations of the authorities that max 25% of shares will be sold, it is a standard method the Georgian government uses to gauge public opinion and then additionally decide on the sale of 50% and more of the stock.
Specialists are at a loss too. Liana Jervalidze, a Georgian economic expert, believes that after shares are put to international stock exchanges the recognizability of companies and the national economy will increase though it is fraught with serious risks. "It is practically impossible to check who will be future owners since those who pay more will eventually buy the companies", - she remarks.