Schedule for Privatization of Energy Approved by Parliament

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The Armenian government approved the schedule and procedures of a privatization commission that will be charged with preparation of the package of documen’s for the sale of four energy distributing networks. March 2001 has been set as the final deadline for concluding the entire privatization process.

Energy minister Karen Galustian told reporters that the preparation of privatization documen’s would be concluded by November 10 to be followed by preparation of legislative acts necessary for ensuring the deal’s transparency–which would be concluded in December.

The next privatization stage is to begin in January 2001 with preparation of a second option of documen’s. The privatization tender is scheduled to be announced in February 2001 and the discussion on the shares for sale will be held in March.

The minister also said that documen’s on the terms and conditions of the privatization agreement had been submitted to the Chadborn and Park legal consulting company that had been chosen to coordinate the process and is expected to propose its suggestions by the end of October.

The privatization commission consists of 17 members–of which seven are parliament members and the rest are from the executive. At least 51% of shares are to be sold to four companies from the US–Switzerland–France and Spain which have qualified for the tender.

The release of the World Bank new loan programs for Armenia–and the fate of some $46 million worth of funds which are due to cover a considerable part of the government’s budget deficit is contingent on the privatization of Armenia’s energy distribution networks.

The Armenian government believes that World Bank credits will provide an opportunity to help sustain macroeconomic stability without drastic cuts in budget expenditures. World Bank officials have said repeatedly that Yerevan will obtain the loans in question after it declares winners of the international tender for the state-owned electrical companies.

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