MPs confused about sell-off plans

MPs confused about sell-off plans

Confusion reigned on Thursday in Parliament over the government’s plans for the new state privatization fund, as the list of assets to go under the hammer changes so frequently that few knew what was actually included.

After an initial argument between government ministers and the opposition about the lack of appendices to the bill for the creation of the Hellenic Holdings Company, Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis rushed to submit two such appendices for inclusion.

The first of these presented five state companies that would be included in the new sell-off entity: the Athens Transport Company (OASA) and its two subsidiaries – STASY (operator of the metro and tram) and OSY (buses and trolleys) – the Athens Olympic Sports Complex (OAKA) and Hellenic Post (ELTA). To the surprise of government deputies, it also provided for six more state corporations to be transferred to the new company “at a later date,” namely Public Power Corporation (PPC), the Athens and Thessaloniki water companies (EYDAP and EYATH), the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO), Attiko Metro, and State Infrastructures SA. The second appendix included 91 real estate assets for utilization.

An hour later, however, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos tabled another amendment that changed what Houliarakis had submitted: It excluded the latter six corporations, with the minister saying they remain under negotiation, and added a sixth, the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE), to the firms that will go up for sale soon.

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