In an interview with the Ukrainian business daily Ekonomicheskie Izvestia published on May 18, Georgian State Minister for Economic Reforms Kakha Bendukidze said that fears over Russian investments are “over-exaggerated.”
“It would have been very strange if Russian capital went to Indonesia, without paying attention to Georgia or Ukraine… I think there is an over-exaggerated fear of Russian capital… The same happens in Estonia, which thinks that it would be better to nationalize the railway, otherwise it might be bought by a Russian company. In reality, the best way of protecting is to maximally open the economy: the more transparent the privatization process is the more chances there are for non-Russian companies to buy facilities,” Bendukidze said.
He said that by the next year all the major state-run facilities in Georgia, except the railway, high-voltage power lines, Enguri hydro power plant and trunk gas pipeline, will be privatized.
“But I think that some of our [Georgian] politicians are fixated on the idea [that these facilities should not be privatized]. Why shouldn't we sell them?” Bendukidze said.
He said shares of the privatization process in Georgia's mid-term budget for 2008-2010 will total 0.1% of GDP.
He hailed the ongoing privatization process as a success, but also noted the failure to privatize Chiaturmanganumi, the manganese mining factory. “But I think in two months, Chiaturmanganumi will find an owner,” Bendukidze said.