Pristina, December 31, 2013 / Balkan Independent News Agency
Kosovo’s Post Telecom (PTK) will continue to remain in the hands of the state because the shares of the largest company in the country has failed.
The news is confirmed for balkaneu.com by official sources of the Ministry of Economic Development of Kosovo.
They said that government committee on the privatization of PTK (GCP), “has analyzed the situation relating to the process of privatization of PTK, following the lack of quorum in the parliament of Kosovo in the December 26, 2013 proceedings to deliberate the report of the privatization of 75% of the shares of this public company”.
Based on the paperwork of the tender for the privatization of PTK, which have comprised the basis for the application of participants on this tender, December 30, 2013 has been the deadline for the finalization of this contract.
Based on the legal opinion obtained by the advisor of the transaction, GCP claims that there is no legal basis for further adjourning this date.
In front of this situation and unable to proceed with the finalization of the contract of sale of the shares of PTK, GCP has decided to finalize the process of the privatization of 75% of the shares of PTK.
Minister of Economic Development says that currently it’s in the phase of organizing the tele-conference to notify Axos-capital consortium about the fact that this process cannot be further postponed. This ministry claims that the strategic documents and transaction documents do not allow any postponements beyond the deadline”.
German “AXOS-capital” which in cooperation with “Najafi Companies” from the USA, was the winner of the tender for the sale of 75% of the shares of this public company.
The government makes efforts to privatize PTK
The government has proposed the privatization of PTK, including it in the 2014 budget, while the opposition says that a special bill is needed for this.
The government has announced the sale of 75% of the shares of PTK. The government had attempted this in 2010, but privatization failed.
Prime minister of the republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci had declared that with the privatization of 75% of the shares of PTK, there will be a liberalization of the telecom market in Kosovo which will offer cheaper prices for services offered to consumers.
Opposition explains why it’s against the privatization
Sale of shares of PTK triggered strong criticism and accusations of the opposition against the government. Even this time, like last time, the government was accused of trying to sell the most important state owned company in exhange of benefits.
Opposition demands from parliament to demand explanations to the government about its actions. According to LDK, without an authorization of the parliament, the government approved the new decision on the privatization of PTK.
Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) says that the privatization of Kosovo’s Post Telecom (PTK) has no legal basis. The largest opposition party says that it supports the privatization of this company, but that it’s against unlawful privatizations.
“As a right wing party, we support the privatization and believe that private enterprises offer a better service to the citizens than the public ones”, states LDK’s press office.
According to this party, enterprises must remain under the control of the public sector only in cases when they are natural monopolies or when it’s technically impossible for free competition of the market.
But according to this party, privatization of PTK has no legal basis and as a result it’s considered to be illegal.
“The privatization of PTK being carried out by the government has no legal basis. According to the law on public enterprises, Parliament of Kosovo may, in special cases, allow the privatization of a public enterprise The government of Kosovo has acted the same as in 2011 when it decided to privatize PTK through a process without a legal basis”, says LDK.
Analysists: The value is constantly dropping
The first time that the sale of PTK failed was in 2010, a time when mobile phone services were not that spread, but today, competition has grown and value of PTK has significantly fallen.
Avni Zogiani is a known columnist in Kosovo. In an interview in Pristina with IBNA journalist, Tinka Kurti, Mr. Zogiani has claimed that “privatization of PTK has become an urgent matter, given that by capturing the state, this company has been left under the mercy of competitive companies”.
The government has sent the 2014 budget for voting in parliament, where fresh attempts are being made to privatize Post Telecom of Kosovo (PTK). How do you see this process? Have there been reactions in your organization over this privatization?
As an organization and I, personally, have been against the privatization in the circumstances that Kosovo was going through. Telecommunication is an entirely unregulated domain and privatization would take away many public assets by leaving nothing to society, but impoverishment and misery. This process continued for a decade without ever assessing its effect. Now, the former chairman of the Board of the Agency for Privatization, Blerim Rexha says that there must be an analysis of what happened with privatization up until now. Meanwhile, the American member of the Board abandoned the board as a sign of protest against the positioning of Blerim Rexhaj. A few days later the government forced Mr. Rexhaj to resign.
Less than a week from his resignation, an American company signed an agreement with the Serb government on Trepçe. This company signed the agreement with the claim that it had received assurances from the State Department, according to which, following the negotiations with Brussels, it could sign an agreement with Serbia for a company which was considered to be under Kosovo’s jurisdiction.
This has been the destiny of all privatizations in Kosovo. Kosovars have never taken decisions on the most important privatizations. This, either because there has not been integrity toward officials that favored certain interests that damaged Kosovo, or they have been clueless and they haven’t dared to object. PTK’s case is not very different. We know that parliament has been constantly against this, because it’s clear that PTK is being privatized in order to pay debts incurred by our government under the pressure of international consultants. In decisive moments there have been arbitrary interventions of the foreign factor in Pristina to force Parliament to change its positioning and this has sometimes taken place even within a day.
But today, privatization of PTK has become urgent, given that by capturing the state, this company has been left under the mercy of competitive companies. Senior officials of the party in power are paid by PTK’s competitors and today the government is doing everything to reduce this company to an uncompetitive level for the benefit of competitors. This is why I think that its sale can be the only way out for the most profiting company in Kosovo”. /ibna/