news 05 Dec 12

Serbian State to Quit Managing Public Firms

Ruling coalition has proposed changes to the law on public companies, obliging the state to withdraw from day-to-day management of public enterprises.

Bojana Barlovac

Mladjan Dinkic, Finance Minister, told parliament on Tuesday that amendments to the Public Companies Law envisage the state withdrawing from company management roles.

"The professionalization of management in public companies and tenders to select directors are being introduced and management boards are being abolished," Dinkic noted.

Media organisations criticised the law which said that the state own media. According to the media strategy adopted in September 2011, the state must withdraw from ownership in the media.

Sasa Mirkovic, president of the Association of Independent Electronic Media, ANEM, said that if adopted, the law will jeopardize the independence of media.

"As President of the largest association of broadcasters, I can say that we will withdraw from further talks about this issue," said Mirkovic Beta.

The OSCE Mission to Serbia also reacted asking the government and the parliament to revise the controversial bill, as the provision according to which the state may be founder of a media company "violates the commitments that Serbia accepted."

So far, the state has appointed directors and managing boards of public enterprises. State-owned companies that turn a profit, or which obtain large funds from the budget, have long been considered "prizes" for the ruling parties following elections.

Governments have routinely filled boards with party loyalists or funders as part of a well organised patronage or rewards system.

Serbia's biggest public enterprizes include Telekom Srbija, the power utility EPS, the gas company Srbijagas and the construction company, Putevi Srbije.

Under the changes, the directors of public companies will no longer be party officials. Instead, Dinkic said that tenders to select directors will be conducted by a special body, and the relevant minister, provincial secretary or municipal president will only be able to select managers from at least three candidates.

"Another novelty is transparency in the work of public companies," the minister said, adding that companies will have to publish financial reports and plans on the web on a quarterly basis. All tenders will have to have be published on the companies' websites.

So far, public companies were obliged to publish their financial reports only annually.

Vacancies for the positions of directors in public enterprises are due to begin in March.

Serbia has 1,340 state-owned companies, which employ about 100,000 staffers. In 2010 they had losses of a billion euro, or 3.5 per cent of GDP.

Total subsidies and transfers to these enterprises in 2011 amounted to about 2.3 per cent of GDP.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

22 Oct 16

Macedonia Prosecutors and Police Tussle Over Wiretap Evidence

Tension between Macedonia's ruling structures and the Special Prosecution, SJO, has heightened after one SJO investigator was arrested - and later released - and while another was thrown out of the headquarters of the secret police, UBK.

21 Oct 16

Crimea Officials Tout for Business in Serbia

Premium Selection

21 Oct 16

Nikola Ivanovski: New Head of Macedonia’s Discredited Court

The newly elected chief judge of Macedonia’s Constitutional Court is unlikely to restore the image of an institution now widely seen as a tool of the political establishment.

21 Oct 16

Bosnian Serb Opposition Party Chooses New Leader

After its recent local election debacle, the main opposition party in Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska is trying to consolidate, but the process is burdened by internal power struggles and divisions.

20 Oct 16

Bosnian War Rape Victims Rue Lost Motherhood

20 Oct 16

Critical Voices Defy Fear in New Serbia