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Privatization unblocked?

Prishtina, 16 June 2004 - According to "Koha Ditore" for the time being only UNMIK Pillar IV head Nikolaus Lambsdorff is optimistic about the continuation of the process of privatization. According to Lambsdorff, only three minor changes must be made in this respect: the Kosovo Trust Agency should negotiate with the bidders to make the selection, the tendering process should be done in two rounds, and there should be more special spin-offs.
"The three supplements of the process of privatization" were a result of two-day talks in New York, said Lambsdorff.

However, local representatives are skeptical about the three proposals.

Trade and Industry Minister Ali Jakupi said he was not well informed about these proposals, and that he doubted that KTA could be subjective in assessing candidates whose identity is known. "Candidates can agree among themselves or with the members of KTA and these proposals leave room for corruption". For Minister Jakupi these changes are not minor and will be approved by the Government only after they have been thoroughly discussed.

According to Koha Ditore the press conference reflected completely opposite stances between the head of Pillar 4 and the local members of the KTA Board. Jakupi thanked Lambsdorff for his briefing about the visit in New York, however he said they were expecting official material from United Nations. "We did not take any decision today, as it was an informal meeting…. We are interested in continuing privatization, but we do not want to approve things without any perspective", said Jakupi after a briefing meeting of the KTA Board.

Asked how come he selected these proposals that leave room for corruption and why he nominated the problematic Ms Fucci as an advisor, Lambsdorff said: "Any process of privatization leaves room for misuse. There is no perfect process of privatization, but KTA now is in charge and it will be transparent and it will be correct and proper".

According to Lambsdorff, everybody is interested in the continuation of privatization; KTA, UNMIK and the Kosovo Government.

Journalists were interested to know how can Marie Fucci contribute to the continuation of privatization when she was dismissed from the post of KTA head as an obstacle for privatization. Lambsdorff said that Marie Fucci is the best expert of privatization I have ever known. He publicly opposed the decision of the outgoing SRSG Harri Holkeri to dismiss Fucci as she had not done her job properly. "That is not true, she is the best expert", said Lambsdorff.

Minister Jakupi did not agree with that in any way. "We do not agree with only swapping of the chairs, and with the same person deciding about privatization. Unlike Lambsdorff we do not think that Marie Fucci is an expert on privatization", he said.

United Nations has given the green light for the continuation of privatization with three novelties in operational policies.

Until now however, it still remains unclear whether the new proposals will allow the process of privatization to continue or not.

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