UN body proceeds with key Kosovo privatizations

PRISTINA (AP) – Authorities are seeking to privatize farmland, business premises, shopping malls and a meat-processing company in a bid to revive the economy in Kosovo. Kosovo Trust Agency, a UN-run body guiding privatization in the province, launched on Tuesday the sale of the companies that were once owned by their workers and managers under a system set up in communist-era Yugoslavia. It hopes to create 45 new companies once the sales are completed. The bidders have to submit offers by June 20 and the firms will go to those offering the highest price, the agency said in a statement. Since 2002, Kosovo has privatized over 200 firms – most considered inefficient after years of neglect – and the sales have generated about -282 million. The privatization agency wants entrepreneurs to modernize Kosovo’s industries and help regenerate the economy in the province, where unemployment is an estimated 50 percent. But privatization is a sensitive issue in Kosovo as the province’s political status has yet to be resolved. The sale of companies has drawn protest from Serbia, which insists the province should remain within its borders.

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