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New Agency for Management of State Financial Assets Initiated

Ljubljana, 20 April (STA) - Parliament passed Tuesday a law establishing an agency which will manage state-owned shareholdings currently handled by a variety of ministries and government bodies.

The act on corporate governance of state capital investments stipulates that state-owned shares will be transferred from ministries to a new, independent agency, which will be report to the National Assembly.

It will manage the assets in line with an annual plan confirmed by the government, but for the disposal or purchase of stakes worth more than EUR 20m it will need case-by-case government approval.

The agency will be headed by a three-member board and overseen by a five-member supervisory board. The candidates will be shortlisted by the government and formally nominated by parliament.

The legislation is one of the preconditions for Slovenia's joining the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The second precondition - adoption of the bill on the restructuring of the funds KAD and SOD - was met by the government last week, which means Slovenia will probably join the OECD in May.

The two pieces of legislation are inextricably linked, as the bill transforming KAD and SOD stipulates that most of their assets will be transferred to the new agency.

The debate in parliament today saw the opposition undermine the government's claim that the management of state assets would henceforth be more transparent.

"I support transparency, but it is questionable whether an agency is the appropriate format," Democrat (SDS) MP Rado Likar said.

Instead, the SDS said these assets should be managed by the Directorate for Public Property at the Finance Ministry.

This idea was challenged by the ruling Social Democrats, with MP Matevz Frangez noting that a directorate was subject to influence by the finance minister whereas the agency management would be appointed by parliament.

The People's Party (SLS) meanwhile suggested these stakes should be managed directly by the government.

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