Economic Ministers Approve Draft Bill on Large-Scale Privatization
19. augusta 2003

At their Monday meeting, ministers with economic portfolio recommended the cabinet to approve the draft large-scale privatization bill, with their comments included. The ministers suggested to erase from the list of the so-called natural monopolies heating plants and the national railway company Zeleznicna Spolocnost (ZSSK), a.s. because, the Finance Minister Ivan Miklos reasoned, they do not have the natural monopoly character. According to current legislation, privatization of natural monopolies requires parliamentary approval.

Inspired by a comment from the national privatization agency (FNM), the ministers decided that the FNM will be eligible to conclude rental contracts for indefinite period with a notice period up to three months. The FNM argued that it is administratively demanding to constantly renew existing more than 600 contracts concluded for a definite period. The ministers also accepted a comment form the Antitrust Office regarding issuance of preliminary injunctions on concentration in the privatization process.

The present large-scale privatization law enables the sale of up to 49 percent of strategic companies, while the discussed bill frees up for privatization the remaining 51-percent. The bill does not dictate the state what portion of strategic companies it should keep but it leaves it up to the cabinet that will decide on each case individually. The legal term for filing an appeal against validity of ownership transfer should increase from the current three to ten years.

The list of natural monopolies features gas utility Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel, power producer Slovenske Elektrarne, electricity transmission company SEPS, regional power distribution companies VSE, ZSE, and SSE, crude oil pipeline operator Transpetrol , water management company Slovensky Vodpohospodarsky Podnik, national railway company Zeleznice SR, and forest management company Lesy SR.

According to the draft bill, the railway network, railway reloading stations in Cierna nad Tisou and Matovce, surface and ground waters, forest fund and property destined for providing postal services should remain excluded from privatization.

The Cabinet’s Legislative Council should deal with the draft bill on Tuesday while on Wednesday the cabinet should have it on its table.

The government has already sold the allowed 49-percent stake in gas utility Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel, crude oil pipeline operator Transpetrol and regional power distribution companies. Under privatization contracts, new minority holders have also acquired managerial control in some strategic companies.

Tento projekt je podporený z Európskeho sociálneho fondu


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