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According to MGI’s data, by September 1999 the register comprised a. 10% of legal entities, by summer 2000 (after a certain pressure)- 83%, or 52,000, including 11,200 public unitary enterprises (PUE), 32,700 federal institutions, 3,500 JSC with the government share or using the federal property, 4,500 legal entities of other forms of ownership. The inclusion of an enterprise in the register obviously encourages the growth in revenues to federal budget. Thus, in Vladimir Oblast the number of rental agreements climbed from 480 in 1998 up to 6,100 in 1999. In contrast to that, in Moscow only 12% of legal entities were included in the register in 2000. There are 1,232 legal entities in 69 Subjects of RF that regions claim to be federal, however they have not been affiliated to any Ministry. Some mechanisms on the restricting of the failure to submit the data on some assets to the register were provided originally, however that does not help solve a key problem- that is, the assets withdrawal through long-term financial investment ( no MGI’s approval is required to invest monetary resources in the course of establishment of daughter companies).
Another problem is the attempts to carry out the monitoring of directors and, effectively, to force PUE=s transfer a part of their profit to the budget. Such a monitoring - even if the agencies concerned develop “economic and financial standards”- provides both the existence of objective criteria for estimating enterprises’ performance and a system of sanctions, and the existence of some external environment that does not encourage corruption and ‘deals’. The cancellation of a contract (as well as the decision of the attestation commission) as a sanction for the failure to comply with departmental standards can easily be disputed in the court (both due to the inevitable conditionality of any standards and with regard to the domination of the current Labor Code). The transfer of a part of profit to the budget is provided by the law 9Art. 295 of the Civil Code of RF), however, there have been very few such cases for the whole history of PUE=s. The only shining example (at least from the budget revenue perspective) is likely to be “Vietsovpetro” joint venture.
A real mass monitoring may be carried out in the frame of regular and independent auditing procedures. That, however, despite the trend to dumping in the market for auditor services, necessitates considerable resources (budget or those of a PUE, i.e. indirectly public funds). At the same time, according to economic agents concerned, due to an intensive competition, the market for auditor services in the country is oriented to clients (i.e. in our case, enterprises rather than the state).
The most radical solution still is the liquidation of the institution of PUE=s (considering the state’s managerial capacity, with no more than 1,000-2,000 enterprises remaining under the government control). The problem is that, according to MGI’s data, the assets of 90% of public enterprises and organizations (mostly small ones, and including PUE=s) are not liquid. That causes the problem of creation of the privatization apparatus (in addition to a simple transformation into a JSC) that would allow to have the state get rid of this burden, along with a simultaneous encouragement of a minimal demand on the part of private individuals and small businesses. It is also interesting that between 1998 to 2000 the MGI found 5 mln. sq.m. of idle production capacities, storage facilities, administrative offices and objects of suspended construction.
The example of the assignment of the federal property under the ownership of the RF Subject is the assignment of some stakes under the ownership of the city of Moscow (RF Government Resolution # 974 of 15 December 2000). These stock packages are assigned for the sake of a partial compensation for expenditure on the exercising of the functions of the RF capital. Another RF Government (#1366 of December 9, 1999) provides the transfer of federal PUE=s under the ownership of RF Subjects.
As concerns the sphere of management of the government stakes, the following changes can be provided:
- a differentiated approach to the estimation of the efficiency of the government respesentatives’ performance depending on the size of the state-woned stake and posibilities to influence the decision-making process (in the meantime of 3,000 representatives 92%-from sectoral structures, and 70%- regional authorities), and in perspective- the sales of minor stock packages or creation of “portfolio funds”;
- an introduction of the institution of “authorized representatives”, whose job within their JSC is a main (included in the jobs list at the enterprise);
- encouragement of the tender-based trust institutions ( with the most radical variant being the transition to this form of management as the only possible one). It is a very complicated objective under the current legal base and practices;
- an objective strengthening of the government voting powers (Federal Law #109 of August 5, 2000, amended the privatization law: in compliance with the newly introduced amendments, if a a specialized enterprise owns the stock (of the JSC created in the process of privatization) due to sales, such a stock has the right for voting at the stockholders’ meetings). As long as subjective considerations are concerned, it should be noted that there is a great risk of abuse in the course of voting, if no criteria of “scrupulousness” of such decisions are introduced simultaneously;
- it is intended to unify the fixed packages (100%, as well as 75%, 50, 25% + 1 share) of 500 enterprises that form a “strategic” list;
- as concerns minor stock packages (up to 25%), the strategy of their estrangement is expedient, except the largest and financially significant enterprises.
An obvious trend to the strengthening of the federal vertical of power as also manifested itself in the sphere of property relations.. Thus, in particular it is intended to accomplish a full-scale revision of the respective agreements with the regions to whom the territorial authorities assigned the right for management of the federal property and in which the revenues from the use (leasing, etc.) of the state property falls (in 2001 that was noted in 25% of RF Subjects). In the regions, in which the policies of local Committees for property management, with their respective rights, do not satisfy the government, their powers will be assigned to special territorial agencies. The latter (already created in Moscow, Voronezh, and Irkutsk) will be run directly from the federal center. Thus, so far there is an attempt of administrative reform, whose formal purposes are increasing budget revenues and the effort to introduce strict criteria of the division of federal property from municipal one. It is likely that the legislative solution to this problem is needed, too.
Another potential innovation of 2001 may become an establishment of a public company – a professional participant in the security market. At the first stage, the resources for its operations in the stock market may formed by revenues generated from mass sales of state-owned non-liquid assets (assigned to the company) that may be invested in blue chips’ stock for the purpose of receiving budget dividend and/or quotation revenues. This idea is not ambiguously positive, despite some favorable foreign experience. Such a structure, indeed, grants the state with an opportunity of transition to the flexible sales policy with regard to market situation, however it is possible already today. At the same time the sales in small lots are unlikely to ensure the envisaged effect in the “gray” market for large stakes. That means that the government is going to play in the narrow and speculative Russian stock market. Considering the state’s capacity, that may have a catastrophic effect on all the segments of the financial market. Finally, there are a mass of other problems: the selection of the stakes to be assigned, transparency of transactions and criteria of their consistency with the state’s (budget) interests and, finally, the strategy of acquisition, ie. de-facto nationalization. Let us also note that in addition to other methods of privatization, the new draft law on privatization provides budget transactions, however, one can also consider purchase of shares.
Due to all the above, the elaboration of a new law on privatization is related to a considerable amount of accumulated problems requiring their solution: thus, in particular, there are a need to change privatization methods, problems in the area of property valuation, rent of public property, the “Golden Share” institution, and special mechanisms of privatization of small stock packages are required. There is a remaining uncertainty in terms of a formal legal issue – whether to amend the draft of the new federal law “On privatization of the government and municipal property”, or to pass a separate law in the area of management of public property.
1 Due to the estimates of the GDP data, the indicators may become subject to revision
2 A minor growth of real monetary aggregate compared to the data on maximum level of GDP monetisation may be attributed tothe difference between the values of GDP deflator and the CPI growth rate. We used the latter to deflate the real monetary aggregate. Despite the growth in GDP (at 3.5% in 1999 and by 7.7% in 2000), the increment in CPI index accumulated since August 1998 is considerably higher than the GDP deflator.
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