Why did no investors jump at the bait of the Belarusian authorities?
On December 14, parliamentarians adopted in the first reading amendments to the law on privatization. From the current law, the provisions defining the powers and procedure for approving the corresponding plans for privatization and the transformation of state enterprises into open joint-stock companies are excluded.
— Life has shown that the existing order has not justified itself. These plans do not work," — Leanid Brich, deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission for economic policy, told reporters.
Kruk: The list of priorities of the authorities do not include selling of state-owned enterprises
Economist of the Center for Economic Research BEROC Dzmitry Kruk told “Your Country’s Tomorrow” about the reasons why the planned privatization of SOEs failed.
— In my opinion, the main reason for the fact that even with the strong desire of the authorities this goal will not be achieved in the near future, lies in the huge amount of debts accumulated by these enterprises, — the expert pointed out.
In such a situation, there is no need to wait for the influx of investors: in many cases it is difficult to assess whether these enterprises can independently cope with servicing accumulated debts.
In addition, the economist says, today the authorities do not demonstrate clear readiness to conduct privatization:
— The list of priorities of the authorities does not include selling of state enterprises. And life just does show that privatization occurs only when the state urgently needs money, and an investor at the same time offers attractive conditions. However, these are sporadic and unique situations. For example, the sale of Beltransgaz or Velcom, —the expert recalls.
According to the interlocutor of the “Your Country’s Tomorrow”, the decision to abandon planned privatization is not a sensation.
"It is rather a recognition of the reality that privatization remains in the second ten priorities on the current agenda. And it is not considered by the authorities as an instrument that can stir up the country's economic life, — Dzmitry Kruk sums up.
Shlynzdikau: They offer certain terms for selling today, and change them tomorrow
According to the ex-president of the Amkodor concern Vasil Shlyndzikau, the proposed amendments to the law on privatization in the draft will be as ineffective as the current document. The reason lies in the peculiarities of the very economic system, which operates in the country.
— We are all witnessing what happens to privatized enterprises. Especially if they are successful. Suddenly it turns out that during the sale something was wrongly calculated, or mistakenly decided, and it was sold in violation of all the rules in the end. And they take it away. We have this system and it started, if I'm not mistaken, with “Keramin”, — says the expert.
He is convinced that with the existing authorities, those who want to risk their money by buying Belarusian state enterprises will be few under any conditions.
— After all, the bicycle factory in Minsk was sold under fairly acceptable conditions. And how did it end? The authorities offer certain terms of sale today, and tomorrow they come up with completely different ones. And an investor will always be the one to suffer from consequences.Therefore, those who have money understand that it is better to start business from scratch than to buy shabby walls, bring them to mind, and then lose all this, — says Vasil Shlyndzikau.
According to him, for a really successful sale of SOEs, the authorities need to provide a number of conditions.
First, to reduce the number of controlling bodies and inspections conducted by them, and also to eliminate administrative barriers. In addition, the economist is convinced, the country lacks an independent court in which business could effectively defend its interests.