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Economy Minister Outlines Privatization Policy
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Jun.'04 / 10:31

Georgian Economy Minister Kakha Bendukidze, who advocates radical deregulation of the economy, said on June 9 that almost all the state-run facilities and enterprises including ports of Poti and Batumi should be privatized.

Georgian-born Russian tycoon Kakha Bendukidze, who has been appointed as Georgian Economy Minister in early June, told the members of the parliamentary committees for finances and sector economy that the state-run enterprises should be sold “in as high price as possible.”

Later on June 9, Kakha Bendukidze told Rustavi 2 television that “the railway, gas pipelines and Enguri hydro power station will not be privatized.”

The Enguri hydro power plant, which lies at the administrative border between breakaway Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, is the largest in the country and produces 700 megawatt of electricity per day.

Bendukidze said that like Enguri power station, other energy facilities, which are also located in the conflict areas, would not be privatized.

Kakha Bendukidze, who has been recently granted Georgian citizenship but still retains the Russian passport, also said that it is no difference who will buy enterprises in Georgia.

“It makes no difference who will buy Georgian state-run facilities – Russians, Americans or others. The important is to receive as much money as possible from privatizing these enterprises,” he added.

Kakha Bendukidze told lawmakers on June 9 that the Georgian economy “must be freed from Soviet mentality” and Georgian businessmen – “from high taxes.”

He said the government will present a draft of the new liberal tax code by June 12.

Bendukidze vowed that in case of radical and ultra-liberal reforms “economic growth in Georgia will reach annual 12% by 2007.”

“I will be happy if by the mid-2007 there will be no need of Economy Ministry and it will be disbanded,” the Economy Minister said.

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