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Slovenia Business Week no. 10/2005: Telekom Privatisation Topping Economics Ministry Agenda

The ministry will also be focusing on energy market liberalisation and on curbing inflation

Providing competition on electronic communications market and drafting a privatisation strategy for Telekom Slovenije will top the agenda of the Economics Ministry this year. The ministry will also be focusing on energy market liberalisation and on curbing inflation, Minister Andrej Vizjak told the press as he unveiled his agenda on Tuesday, 1 March. Vizjak announced that the ministry would draft a privatisation strategy for the national telco, Telekom Slovenije, and provide greater liberalisation on the electronic communications market. "This is a key move before the privatisation of Telekom. If Telekom keeps a major monopoly, privatisation will bring along negative effects for the users, which we do not want," the minister explained.

Providing competition on the electronic communications markets will be the priority of the ministry's directorate of electronic communication, Vizjak said. A market analysis and measures will be presented as early as March, he said, adding that the measures would also aim at preventing a long-term dependency of subscribers on one operator. Vizjak believes such commitments hinder competition on the market.

Vizjak expects great interest of European telecommunications giants in the privatisation of Telekom. However, he said the government would not rush with the privatisation as it first wants to regulate the domestic market.

Another priority will be to reduce inflation rate to a level that will meet the Maastricht criteria in the part that refers to controlled prices. Another important goal will be the act on double price tags.

As for entrepreneurship and competition, the ministry will draft a programme of measures for the period between 2007 and 2013, while great attention will also be paid to the relationship between economy and science, the encouragement of entrepreneurship and technical sciences, as well as the promotion of innovative environment and competition.

Vizjak announced that the ministry would not directly support companies through competitions, but would rather focus on creating the conditions for the development of entrepreneurship and competition.

He announced changes to the act on state aids to ailing companies. He said state funds would be allocated for programmes that open new opportunities, are development-oriented, technologically advanced and create a high value added.

"I believe that direct aids or injections increase the passivity of receivers. What I also find important is to set up supervision over used funds," stressed Vizjak, adding that the government had not yet approved any new state aid in three months since it assumed office.

More attention will be paid to small and mid-sized companies with a high value added, which will show the potential of creating new jobs, promoting innovative environment and cooperation with science and research institutions.

The ministry will continue with the liberalisation of energy markets, which also includes the establishment of a second energy pillar, Vizjak announced. Despite a formal liberalisation of most of the electricity market, Slovenia actually lags behind other EU member states.

A final reorganisation of the energy system will aim at making it comparable to the systems in developed EU member states. The ministry will also boost competition in natural gas and electricity markets, and start privatisation procedures in the electricity production sector.

Another prime goal in the energy sector is providing reliable and sustainable electricity supply in the country. Vizjak pointed out fresh investment in production and distribution capacities.

Twelve key items on the agenda of the Economics Ministry for this year also include the establishment of a system for the participation of the Slovenian economy in NATO projects with the aim of including Slovenian companies in the NATO supply system. The ministry would like to prevent Slovenia becoming a net contributor to NATO.

Among other goals, the ministry will file changes to the act on the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIS). The ministry believes that CCIS incomes depend to heavily on membership fees rather than on market revenues, and advocates a reduction of incomes from membership fees, Vizjak told the press.

Source: Slovene Press Agency STA

Author: STA