Belsaruskaliy and Naftan for sale?

The State Committee on Property came up with a proposal to sell shares of the two profit-making Belarusian companies.
According to economist Aliaksandr Sinkevich, the “family silver” will be brought to the hammer only if the authorities fail to find another way to extinguish their external debt. “I believe that such a transfer may happen because we lack $2.5 – 3 bn to offset the negative foreign currency balance,” he said.
It is of frequent occurrence when officials of lower echelon set forward ambiguous proposals. “By this way the government tries to review public reaction and at the same time sends a message to foreign investors showing its readiness to sell the enterprises,” Sinkevich says.
In his opinion, as the authorities aim to retain their control over Naftan and Belaruskaliy they are not going to sell more than 25 per cent of shares.
Deprived of the two flagships, Belarus will be left with nothing: the country is short of experts who are able to elaborate alternative scenarios of economic development, the analyst says. “There should be advanced ideas in the government. But in fact, they see only two ways: conservation of the Soviet heritage or selling off; the innovation-based growth being neglected,” Aliaksandr Sinkevich said. According to the expert, as the same people at the helm have exhausted their potential, “fresh faces” should come into power.
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