State property and the public debt

The final stage has been reached in drafting the bill on improving the use of the state’s property assets, according to the national economy minister, who hopes that the new legislation will lead to much more effective exploitation of state property and to a reduction of the country’s public debt. Everyone knows that the state has an immense amount of property at its disposal. However, a large segment of that property is being exploited by various shrewd parties – many of them with the appropriate partisan political connections – at negligible cost to themselves. Then there is that other segment of state property that is being made absolutely no use of. Under existing laws, the state is often faced with a choice between two unpalatable alternatives – either being unable to meet the increased demand for space required by state services because of a lack of funds required to make the necessary renovations, or else to continue to house small services in what are unnecessarily large buildings. These problems are expected to be done away with by the new bill, which gives the state the ability to sell its property to the private sector and then lease it back again, or even buy it back after a period of time has elapsed. The state will also be able to build or renovate buildings under much more favorable terms. Given that European Union regulations state that the revenue from these property transfers may not be recorded as revenue in the state budget but must instead be used exclusively to reduce the accumulated public debt, the country could benefit in two ways. That is provided, of course, that the policy of liquidizing and exploiting state property assets is carried out with care and that it forms part of a well-prepared and methodically executed effort to reduce what is a massive public debt.

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