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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State to Step Up Privatization Efforts

The government will step up its privatization program this year, considering more share sales than previously announced, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said Thursday.

“What we must do in 2010 is significantly expand the privatization program,” Shuvalov said. “We’ve confirmed certain plans for 2010, and these plans are significantly more than in the previous two to three years.”

The government seeks to raise 72 billion rubles ($2.4 billion) in 2010 from privatization of companies’ stakes held by the government, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said in November.

The government plans to sell its stakes in companies including power generator TGK-5 and insurer Rosgosstrakh, Nabiullina said. Selling stakes in 28 companies currently classified as strategic is expected to bring 54 billion rubles out of the total 72 billion. Russia will need to amend the law to sell these stakes, she said.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Shuvalov on Tuesday to oversee Russia's investment climate, saying he would have the authority to seek cancellation of decisions by state agencies that would make life harder for investors.

Shuvalov said Thursday that extending the privatization program would help improve the country's investment climate. He also named lowering administrative barriers for new businesses, battling bureaucracy and modernizing the country's legal system as priorities for improving the investment climate.

He also called on Russians to give as much respect to businessmen as to artists and scientists.

"We should socially recognize and respect those who create their own business, who create new jobs and increase the national wealth just as much as we respect representatives of the arts and scientists," Shuvalov said, RIA-Novosti reported.

"We have no such understanding in the country," Shuvalov said, adding that businessmen in Russia risk everything they have: familial relationships, money, time and their lives.

(Bloomberg, MT)