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Nov 20, 2017 12:20 EEST
November 20 (SeeNews) - The state secretary at Serbia's economy ministry, Dragan Stevanovic, has said he expects the number of state-owned enterprises on the government's privatisation list to fall to 120 from 144 by the end of 2017.
The government will be unable to find new owners for all companies that will be dropped from the list, as some of them are liquidated while others have no activity, Stevanovic said in an interview for local broadcaster TV Stara Pazova, according to a statement issued by the economy ministry on Sunday.
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"If we manage to achieve the number of 120 companies, we will get companies that work, pay their obligations and are not protected in any way," Stevanovic said.
The current team at the economy ministry started its work with a privatisation portfolio of 156 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and now their number stands at 144, Stevanovic said.
"Back then we announced that we will switch to a story of creative economy from the unpopular story of privatisation and restructuring. Today this is happening."
Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that although the financing of weak public entities in Serbia through arrears to gas company Srbijagas and electricity company EPS has been significantly reduced, the resolution of some problem SOEs in Serbia, especially in the petrochemical and mining sectors, is still pending.
The economy ministry said in October that Serbia's SOEs had recorded a combined net profit of 16.3 billion dinars ($162.4 million/137.6 million euro) in the first half of 2017, 25.4% above plan. The total revenue of the SOEs was 5% lower than planned but their expenses were reduced by 10% year-on-year in the first half, the economy ministry said back then.
(1 euro = 118.436 dinars)
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