Monday, January 07, 2008 - Albania in Big Privatization Drive

Albania in Big Privatization Drive
Albania’s centre-right government is planning a big round of privatization in 2008, which will spell the end of public ownership of the last major assets currently controlled by the state.The distribution branch of Albania’s power utility, KESH, the state-owned insurer, INSIG, and the only oil-refinery in the country, ARMO, will all be sold off later this year, according to a plan presented by Prime Minister Sali Berisha.“This year will be marked by a privatization wave, as we view ourselves as a liberal government that believes in free enterprise,” Berisha said at a cabinet meeting on Saturday.The Albanian premier also detailed plans to conclude concessionary contracts with private enterprise for the construction of new hydro-electric generating plants.Over the past two years, Albania has been hit by an acute energy crisis, with regular power cuts throughout the country, including the capital Tirana.International organizations that monitor the Albanian economy, including the IMF and the World Bank, have expressed concern that the energy crisis could have an adverse effect on the country’s robust economic growth, which has been averaging close to 6% per annum in recent years.The current wave of privatization is being structured with expert assistance provided by the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.In 2007, Albania sold a majority stake in its fixed-line telephone company, Albtelekom, to a Turkish consortium led by Calik Enerji, for €120 million.The offer also included a mobile telephone operating licence, which is expected to start operations in March, under the Eagle Mobile brand.The government's sweeping privatization plans follow the introduction of a flat-rate tax system at the exceptionally low rate of 10% at the beginning of the year. Read more at - Albania in Big Privatization Drive

Blogged with Flock

No comments: