Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Privatisation Worries in Kyrgyzstan

By Azamat Kuramaev

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

    

 

As the Kyrgyz government prepares to sell off the national telecoms provider, there are warnings that putting this key national asset on the market at too low a price risks placing it in the hands of owners who will mismanage it.

The sell-off of Kyrgyztelecom is designed to inject some much-needed cash into the government’s coffers.

Nurdin Ilebaev, the minister for state property, has promised to involve members of parliament, the media, non-government organisations and others in the privatisation to ensure the process is completely transparent and legal.

Privatisations under previous Kyrgyz administrations have been severely criticised, with allegations that major assets were sold off in murky tenders at well below their market value.

The price-tag of 100 million US dollars has caused some controversy, with some experts arguing that Kyrgyztelecom is being undersold. The head of the State Service for Financial Market Oversight and Regulation, Yuruslan Toychubekov, argues that the firm is worth several times that sum.

Kyrgyztelecom head Marat Mambetaliev told a recent shareholder meeting that the company was in good shape, covering its costs and making money last year.

The audio programme, in Russian and Kyrgyz, went out on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.