CEO: State to retain Srbijagas

Srbijagas CEO Dušan Bajatović says that there will be no privatization of the company and that it will remain under state control.

Source: Beta

He told Ekonomist magazine that privatizing the company would be a disastrous move, not because he wanted to be the “big boss”, but because that company was vital to the government, Serbia and its industry.

“If the government changes tomorrow, I won’t be a director any more, but every government and the Serbian economy will need Srbijagas, and that is why a large company needs to be created that will stay in the ownership of the state,” Bajatović stressed.

The CEO said that the “high pressure Serbian transport system needs to be under state ownership,” and that Srbijagas would make the system available to every gas trader, as it was obliged to do under the law.

He said that the lawsuit against Srbijagas for the two-day stoppage in gas supplies had no legal basis in any signed agreements or other legal acts.

“The situation we had in early January was unprecedented. There were restrictions, but gas was not shut off, so that that kind of situation was not anticipated by any state acts, or any Srbijagas acts,” he said.

Bajatović said that companies had a bigger problem with being unable to pay gas prices, rather than having to work for 48 hours without gas.

He said that Srbijagas was currently owed about EUR 50mn from the business sector.

Asked whether Srbijagas was considering a suit against Ukraine or Russia over the gas crisis, Bajatović said that the supply of gas to Serbia was governed by an agreement signed with Jugorosgas and a gas transport agreement with Hungary for gas coming from Ukraine.

“We are consulting with public defenders and government officials, we are compiling information about what other countries are doing, and there is also a Russian offer of international arbitration. We do not have a direct contract with Ukraine or with Gazprom. We must first confirm the legal basis of the suit and wait for an estimate of the damage incurred by industry and the civilian population,” the CEO explained.

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