Maribor, 20 March (STA) - Finance Minister Franc Krizanic has suggested that the government might put off privatisation until better economic times in an interview for daily Vecer.
Krizanic admitted that this was a key political issue, but added: "We wouldn't like to sell now, as we stand to earn more once the times change."
His statements come in response to recent talk that the government may be planning a broader sell-off of state stakes in a number of companies to bolster public finances.
Asked whether the planned transformation of the state-run KAD and SOD funds - a key demand from the OECD - has been delayed because of his opposition to the sale of state stakes in companies, Krizanic told Saturday's Vecer that the delay was caused by the large number of comments on the proposals.
He said the key measure for now was to separate management of state assets from the government's other tasks by establishing a state asset management agency. The agency would subsequently assume ownership in KAD and SOD.
The agency will be the one to determine which companies are strategic for Slovenia and the final decision will rest on parliament, Krizanic told Vecer.
Asked what companies are strategic in his eyes, he said those which provide quality jobs and have a developed strategy and mission in terms of management and development.
"We are a country on the periphery and it may happen that companies will lose their current role once they are sold," he said. In his opinion, the best option for Slovenia would be to look for a manufacturer outside Europe which is eying launching operations in Europe.
He said that such investments would be most welcome in eastern Slovenia. "Our geographic position, the quality workforce and other factors are an advantage which [an investor] could tap into."