La privatizzazione in Serbia

Cari compagni, 
Sfogliando il nuovo numero del settimanale serbo "Blic news" ho
trovato un articolo interessante che riguarda la privatizzazione
delle imprese serbe, tra di esse anche la "Crvena Zastava" di
A presto 

Temptations of Serb privatization 

Experts in privatization warn that strategic partners must be
publicly chosen, because temptations of corruption will be great

By Vesna Kostic

A Serb proverb says, "Every chooser finds a doormat". It seems
that the public discussion about privatization of Serb economy
goes in that direction.

"Zastava", the car factory of Kragujevac is the best example.
The Serb public takes "Zastava" for a perfect bride, although it
is a spinster. What is it all about?

The former regime encouraged great expectations of citizens and
workers, claiming that various foreign car factories were
interested in Zastava. They overestimated its importance. An
expert in Serb economy said: "Our market isn't worthless, but I
doubt that somebody is willing to deal with Zastava's problems".
When boys get interested in the girl, they realize that they are
to deal with many problems: she is in great debts, she has a
large family, she isn't young and she got used to spending other
people's money. Taking all this into consideration, the girl
isn't a good match. It's not a wonder that the Serb Minister of
Finances Bozidar Djelic claims that "Peugeot" is slightly
interested in Zastava. 

Let's turn to the cement factory of Beocin. Nenad Canak, a high
official of Vojvodina thinks that he can find a better buyer
than French company "La Frage". If he knew more about economy,
he wouldn't claim that he could find a better buyer. The Serb
Government has already raised the value of the factory's capital
from 100 to 190 million DM. It has also agreed with "La Frage"
to invest 70 million DM in four years with guarantees (the
former agreement obliged "La Frage" to invest 40 million DM
without guarantees). Finally, the factory's short-term duties
(debts to suppliers) are greater than its short-term assets
(value of stocks and demands from buyers).

Cigarette production is the third example. It is said that the
Serb Government offers foreign companies to build a factory of
foreign licensed cigarettes in Kragujevac, which are currently
coming to our country through smugglers' channels.
Representatives of the Tobacco Industry of Nis opposed that
decision. They would like the new factory to be a part of TIN's
complex. Why would they dismiss workers if they can offer them
jobs in the new factory? They claim that Kragujevac should solve
its problems through car industry. We should remember that TIN
didn't take cigarettes to the market whenever it wanted to raise
prices. It has had a monopoly on cheep cigarettes. Why is it
important? TIN shouldn't have monopoly on licensed cigarettes of
high quality. Another cigarette factory would increase
competence at the market. Competence implies struggle for
greater effectiveness, productivity and higher standards. While
we are arguing, time is ticking away.

What's the most important in the process of privatization? 

Firstly, it should result with effective economy and low social

Secondly, there shouldn't be corruption. As far as the former
aim is concerned, it implies that privatized companies function
with low expenses and make great profits. Social expenses imply
a small number of dismissed workers; if dismissals are
necessary, workers will get social welfare until they find new
jobs. Incomes from privatization should cover the expenses of

The Serb Ministry of Privatization is choosing strategic
partners: powerful, internationally recognized companies. All
international financial organizations (IMF and World Bank)
supported that concept of privatization but we are to see its
practical effects. 

As far as corruption is concerned, everything will be clear when
first tenders appear. Namely, they should contain all data,
which are relevant for the process of privatization. All rules
of the game should be public and accessible. According to the
Ministry of Privatization, tenders have several key demands,
which will influence the choice of partners: continuity of work,
minimal investments, environment protection, readiness to
participate in the social program covering transition's expenses
and price of transaction. The choice of strategic partners will
be public and transparent. A foreign expert warned that
"temptations of corruption will be great" and that nobody should
be trusted. 

Judging by the behavior of the Serb public, privatization is
similar to football. Everybody knows the best team and everyone
wants to be a selector. Another Serb proverb says: "Many
midwives, a weak child".

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