Банкеръ Weekly



Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev to the BANKER weekly

Mr. Vassilev, which are the major economic priorities in the Government's programme, in whose drafting you participate?
- We are presently gathering necessary information from the various ministries, and we'll work out the programme on that basis. The initial version will be ready by August 10. The programme itself will be amended each year while this Government is ruling. The economic priorities in it will almost entirely coincide with those in the pre-election programme of the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII). Of course, when drafting the Government's programme we'll also take into consideration the opinion of ministers who did not participate in the elections as candidates of the NMSII.

Do you intend to propose changes in the structure and functioning of the Ministry of Economy?
- There won't be any significant changes. For example, one of the deputy ministers of economy will be also responsible for a part of the financial sector - e.g. capital markets.

Will the Ministry of Economy be managing the State's property?
- It will be managing state-owned assets as far as they should be sold out. One of the deputy ministers will be entrusted to manage the sale of the State'e minority shares in private companies. These stocks will be listed for trade on the stock exchange and could be purchased by compensatory bonds, compensation receipts, and other legal instruments of payment.

Will the deputy minister who will be responsible for financial markets also represent the Ministry of Economy on the Bank Consolidation Company's (BCC) Board of Directors?
- No. I presume that the deputy minister in charge of European integration will be on BCC's Board of Directors.

Will that be Sofia Kasidova?
- I suppose so.

Do you have a strategy for the privatisation of Biochim commercial bank and DSK State Savings Bank?
- Our aim is to sell these two banks as soon as possible. Some of their shares could be offered on the capital markets. I hope these packages will be launched for trade on the stock exchange before negotiations with strategic investors begin.

Isn't there in such an approach a danger of getting too low prices for the State's shares in the two banks, which would later on make more difficult your negotiations with strategic investors?
- There is always a danger. This is something like the question: Which is first: the egg or the hen? As long as the stock market is illiquid, the prices of shares will be low, and there will be no liquidity until sufficient quantities of attractive companies' stocks are launched for trade on the capital market. Yet, we'll have to start from somewhere.

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