By Ruzanna Khachatrian
The Armenian parliament voted to approve on Friday the government’s new three-year plan to privatize the last remaining state industries after ensuring that big mining factories and power plants be auctioned off under special laws. A list of over 900 large and medium-sized enterprises was submitted to the National Assembly the previous day.
After consultations with leaders of the parliamentary factions the cabinet agreed to draw up two separate laws that will regulate the privatization of the four metallurgical companies and the bulk of the country’s thermal and hydro-electric power stations. Ministers also removed several state-run hospitals from the program, bowing to strong pressure from the deputies.
The concessions led the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK), one of the main opponents of the privatization process, to change its position and back the initiative. The move ensured the parliament’s overwhelming support for the final phase of decade-long the privatization process.
The ministry for state property hopes to privatize 40 percent of the listed enterprises within the next twelve months. Some of the businesses were left over from the previous three-year program of privatization launched in 1998.