Jeffrey Franks, IMF’s representative to Romania, stated on Tuesday in an interview for Hotnews.ro that the only way in which the government could get the best prices for the shares of state-owned companies put up for sale would be for it to concretely liberalize energy and natural gas prices. “From my point of view the government absolutely has to reform prices for electricity and gas if it wants to get the best prices for these companies. Because private investors will not want to approach a company if they don’t know what price its basic products will have or whether that price is a viable one,” the IMF’s representative stated. He underlined that compared to last year he felt that the Economy Ministry has a stronger commitment to pushing things forward in what concerns the privatization of state-owned companies.
Asked whether the authorities may fear that they will get a small price for companies such as Hidroelectrica and Transgaz, Franks stated that he is less worried about the fact that the “crown jewels” might be sold off at a small price than he is worried about the fact that their quality is continuously deteriorating. “Unless we reform these companies they will crumble into dust. So there have to be reforms in order to save these companies. And sometimes in order to save them you need to privatize them. They will remain in Romania – nobody will get a nuclear plant out of Romania – and will continue to supply energy to Romanians, for the growth of the Romanian economy,” Franks explained.