Uzbekistan is ready to privatize its state airline, but intends keep full control of its gold mines and oil firm, Reuters reported citing one of the country’s top officials.
Deputy Prime Minister Sukhrob Kholmuradov said that the country was soon going to announce a deal with the World Bank to help it with a broader strategy, while the head of its investment department outlined some privatization plans.
“What we see as a key sector, which we believe we have to keep in state control, is mainly gold mining and our main oil company,” Sandor Sagdullayev stated on the sidelines of the EBRD’s annual meeting on the coast of the Dead Sea.
He said the country was however ready to open up its aviation sector having been reluctant to do so when privatization lists were last drawn up under Karimov.
“We have one monopolistic air company, Uzbekistan Airways, but we are working closely with the World Bank to reform the sector so that it is off the list of untouchable companies,” he said.
Sagdullayev added that Uzbekistan was also thinking about the energy sector, but the PPP (public-private partnership) model would probably be very much the right approach, referring to where stakes rather than full ownership of a state company was sold off.
During an earlier panel discussion Deputy Prime Minister Kholmuradov had also flagged that one of the country’s other main 3-5 year aims was to join the World Trade Organization.
It also wants to build its own hydro-electric plants in coming years, is open to giving three-year work permits for employees of key foreign firms and is working with consulting firms on its customs regime and land law changes.
“We have no way back,” Kholmuradov said. “We want even more positive transformations in the country.” (Trend/Business World Magazine)