TAIPED set for change, chief resigns

The government is considering new ideas for and a possible overhaul of the country?s privatizations project, while the chairman of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) has tendered his resignation.

The government confirmed on Wednesday that TAIPED chief Ioannis Koukiadis had resigned on June 19, just two days after the national election. He cited personal reasons for his departure. His decision now paves the way for changes the government wishes to make in the fund?s administration.

No other member of the TAIPED board has resigned yet, but its officials noted yesterday that should the government and the new finance minister ask for their resignation, they will oblige.

The appointment of Yannis Stournaras to the post of finance minister means the plans originally put forward by designated minister Vassilis Rapanos for the transfer of the monitoring of the sell-off program from the Development Ministry to the Finance Ministry will not be implemented.

New Democracy also has reason to refuse such a shift. Most of the assets to be sold come under the competence of the Development Ministry. Furthermore, leaked information that the government is eager to move ahead with the sale of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) is not irrelevant to that debate: New Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis is very familiar with the OSE issue, and the ND politician has also followed closely as a shadow development minister all privatization issues over the last two-and-a-half years, such as the Elliniko plot use.

The Antonis Samaras government appears determined to proceed with privatizations as a tool to give fresh impetus to the country?s stalled economy. This new course for the sell-off program is based on the motto ?privatizations in the name of growth? and not ?fire sales? of assets with the simple aim of securing some fast cash for the state. The idea is to proceed to moves that will offer a boost to the whole economy, not just state coffers.

After all, even if the government had intended to head in that direction, the financial juncture would not be at all favorable for that.

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