Minister: Telekom will not be sold "at any cost"

BELGRADE -- Rasim Ljajić says the tender procedure for the sale of Telekom Srbija will not be launched until the government is convinced it will be successfully completed.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Speaking in Belgrade late last week, the minister of trade and telecommunications noted that "another unsuccessful attempt would have devastating economic consequences" for the state-owned telecommunications company.

"Telekom will not be sold at any cost, as an economic need, because that would not solve our problems and also because we do not want to give up a company with real growth potential," he said in an interview to Tanjug.

Ljajić emphasized that the value of Telekom is not decreasing because the company contributes a part of its profit to the budget instead of reinvesting it, but because it is facing the same problems as other telecom operators in the region.

"We will see how other telecommunications companies in the region will do, such as the Slovenian operator which is also about to be sold, " he said.

Ljajić noted that two models of fighting the grey economy are currently being considered - forming of a general inspectorate, and establishing of a joint body to coordinate the work of all inspection services.

Ljajić was unable to specify the extent to which the ten per cent pay cut in the public sector will affect the retail sales turnover.

Although it is too early to judge the work of the new government, Ljajić said that a new energy is felt, which is needed “to put into practice everything that the Prime Minister said in his expose”.

The next step, solving the problem of public companies, could cut more expenditures than putting the public administration in order, Ljajić noted.

He said that the first steps of his ministry will be adoption of the law on electronic communications, the law on consumer protection and the law on commodity reserves by the end of June.

The most important task of the ministry will be to complete the process of digitalization by June 2015, as well as further market liberalization and continuation of the talks on bilateral free trade agreements.