An Armenian minister overseeing privatization on Friday called for a new government strategy for selling the remaining state assets that have so far not attracted buyers. Minister for State Property David Vartanian said the government should sell small and medium-sized state enterprises, mostly standing idle under a heavy debt burden, at knock-down prices instead of trying to auction them off.
"Auctions are not justified anymore, they are now artificial," Vartanian told reporters. He said the government should open special stores where those enterprises would be up for grabs. The government should also write off their huge debts which have frightened away potential private investors, he said.
The bulk of state-run businesses and agricultural land in Armenia has been privatized since the start of economic reforms a decade ago. The authorities hope to move the privatization process closer to completion with the upcoming sell-off of 14 big factories. Some 1,200 small and medium-sized entities remain under state ownership.