16:56 18.01.2018

Groysman welcomes Rada passage of new privatization bill

Groysman welcomes Rada passage of new privatization bill

Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has welcomed the Verkhovna Rada's passage of a new privatization bill on Thursday, and expects the passage of another one, on the anti-corruption court, agreed upon with international partners.

"We passed a bill that is absolutely right and needed to be passed 26 years ago," Groysman said in an interview with the 112.Ukraine TV channel.

Commenting on changes to the bill made at parliamentarians' suggestion, he said that it has improved. "We think that on some issues it is now even better," Groysman said.

After the president signs the bill into law, transparent privatization can begin, Groysman said.

"It is very important to pass a bill in the near future, and for this bill to be agreed on with our partners, our international partners, regarding the creation of an anti-corruption court," he said.

Forming the court would enable Ukraine to complete the formation of a national anti-corruption system, he said.

On Thursday, the Rada passed at the second and final reading bill on the privatization of state assets, with technical-legal amendments, including a parliamentary amendment permitting investors to seek redress under English law.

The bill would widen the list of potential investors because it substantially strengthens the protection of their rights, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry said on its website.

"To that end, it envisages the possibility of using the best international practices in dispute resolution and the application of international law in sale and purchase agreements through 2021. If, for example, a buyer wants a sale and purchase agreement to be regulated by the law of England and Wales, the privatization body will be obliged to meet that condition," the ministry said.

The bill envisages one algorithm for selling major government assets and another for selling small ones, the ministry said.

The bill specifies two ways in which state and communal enterprises can be sold: for small privatization, an open online auction on ProZorro.Sales, with the possibility of classic and Dutch auctions; and for the privatization of big assets, an auction involving an investment advisor from a top investment bank.

"The asking price for small assets will be their balance-sheet value, unless it is zero. Should it prove impossible to determine, the asking price will be established by appraisal," the ministry said.

Also, parliamentarians' amendments to the bill limit the participation of companies from the "aggressor country," i.e. Russia, in auctions.

On November 9, the Rada decided to base the privatization bill on a new version which made it easier to sell non-liquid assets and defined the terms for hiring privatization advisors. It represents a condition for the continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.

The law will supersede seven privatization laws currently in effect.

"The new law gives 12 months for major-privatization assets and five months for small ones. If the value of a company's assets has topped UAH 250 million in the past 12 months, it is subject to major privatization, to be carried out exclusively on electronic platforms," Vitaliy Trubarov, acting head of the State Property Fund, said earlier.

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