29 Sep 2009 14:11

Russian govt to step up privatization process

MOSCOW. Sept 29 (Interfax) - The Russian government plans to step up privatization processes, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at an investment forum organized by VTB Capital.

"To the extent that the situation stabilizes, that the effects of the crisis are overcome, we plan to consistently and purposefully reduce state intervention in the economy and moreover, step up privatization processes," Putin said.

The government "has had to assume business risks from time to time" in preparing the anti-crisis program. It was also necessary "to make decision and carry out work for ineffective owners and management of enterprises," he said.

"We have sensed the desire from our colleagues in business to get closer to a source of well-being, forgetting about the market. They have become more state-oriented than representatives of the state themselves," Putin said commenting of the indirect interests of several private companies in increasing the share of the state sector in the economy.

"But at the same time, we well understood how misleading blind faith in an all powerful state is insofar as the hope that everything can be settled and pigeonholed through total intrusion into economic life is an illusion," Putin said.

He added that, despite the crisis, "no wide-scale privatization has taken place and neither has a crawl towards all-encompassing administrative regulation. We have maintained the free movement of capital and the ruble's convertibility."

Putin said: "I am sure that this has served as a convincing signal for investors that there will be no return to the past. Russia will remain a market-oriented and liberal economy. Today I would like repeat that we will consistently continue a line to encourage private initiative, integration in the world economy and the development of a favorable investment climate."