Congo to continue privatisation

Jan 12, 1998 01:00 AM

The Congo Republic will, with Denis Sassou Nguesso's administration, carry on with the privatisation programme.
Paul Kaya, Sassou's minister of state in charge of privatisation's, said state oil and refining companies and telecommunications, power, water and transport companies were at the top of the list.
"The companies that were put up for privatisation stay up for privatisation," Kaya said. "I'm going to pick up the privatisation scheme where it was left," he said.
But he said that there would be a change in tendering methods. "It's the methods that won't be the same. I want the procedure to be transparent."
Kaya said the sale of six companies in a first group up for sale should be completed in two years' time.
The former French colony's major source of foreign exchange is offshore oil, which foreign companies continued producing throughout the conflict.
Congolaise de raffinage (Coraf), an oil refinery, and Hydrocarbures du Congo (Hydro-Congo) the state oil company, are among the six companies earmarked for sale in the first wave of privatisations.
The others are the Agence Transcongolaise de Communications (ATC), which runs Congo's river and sea ports and the Brazzaville-Pointe Noire railway, telephone company Office National des Postes et Telecommunications (ONPT), electricity utility Societe Nationale d'Electricite (SNE), and water utility Societe Nationale des Eaux (SNDE).
Sassou was Congo's Marxist military ruler between 1979 and 1992, when he lost elections won by Lissouba. A presidential election planned for July 1997 was derailed by the fighting.
Sassou aides say that he initially wanted a two-year transition but forum delegates say a consensus appears to be gathering around the idea of a three-year period - a recommendation from a preparatory committee.
The fighting shattered the capital Brazzaville. Pointe Noire, the second city and oil capital, was largely unaffected by the fighting but suffers from insecurity.

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