The Greek government is introducing an omnibus bill including the establishment of the new Privatization Fund that will absorb the former one, created by the ND-PASOK government under the framework of the second bailout deal (2012-14). This new Fund has major differences from the previous one.
Contrary to the previous one, the new Fund is about to manage, not sell at any cost, a number of state assets. The aim is to keep major strategic assets under state control (i.e. 51% of the shares will remain at state control) selling the rest of shares to private investors, generating income for the Greek economy and assisting in the payment of public debt. The July agreement clearly foresees that this income will be split equally (50%-50%) to invest in domestic economy, improve services, create job opportunities as well as normalize and facilitate debt payments following a debt relief regulation between the creditors and the Greek government.
The new Privatization Fund will be headed by the Greek state, i.e. by the Greek Finance Minister. The Monitoring Body will have 5 members, 3 assigned by the Greek government and 2 assigned by the creditors. For the assignment of any new member, this necessitates a qualified majority (4/5 members to agree), meaning that both the Greek government and the creditors should cooperate on that. At the same time, this regulation rules out any concern that the policy of the Fund would be dependent to the decisions of the creditors, as many media outlets and the opposition parties repeatedly reckon.
The Fund will have a specific operational plan that will be implemented into all four (4) sub-funds to deal with public companies, the state-led real estate company, the Fund of Financial Stability and the previous Fund, the one absorbed by the new one. This categorization will serve to a better management, clear procedures that maintain balances on different priorities, and a better monitoring process by the relevant Ministry.
Essentially, the Fund will have independence and transparency taking the form of a public-private corporation that abides both by the rules of the market and the protection of public goods. To this end, for the Fund to operate, it takes a government that will have a pro-social, democratic agenda, that will preserve social responsibility, aiming at redistributing wealth and protecting the labour force. On the other side, it also takes a clear strategy from the representatives of the creditors that will respect these values and rules so that cooperation can be beneficial for all.
With respect to the employees, the new law foresees no change in labour conventions for all sub-funds as well for all state-led companies, meaning that jobs are secured. The only change will fall in the administration of the state-led companies of energy, water management and electricity where the new management groups will be assigned by the Fund’s administration.Dimitris Rapidis