Minister of the Treasury
The Ministry of the Treasury's property, to be used for privatisation in 1999, is worth around 15 billion PLN = US$4.3 billion. (It shows more than a twofold increase in comparison to 1998 in which the property worth 6.5 billion PLN = $1.9 billion was privatised).
Privatisation of the Polish banking sector will continue this year. This privatisation is very important since it helps to strengthen market mechanisms regarding economic turnover; it is of great significance for efficient performance of the entire economy. It is planned to sell 55 per cent of shares of Bank Pekao SA in the first quarter of 1999. This will be the second stage of the bank's privatisation. During the first stage, 15 per cent of the bank's shares were sold on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in June 1998. The privatisation of Bank Zachodni SA is also to be completed this year. The Minister of the Treasury's Adviser has already prepared pre-privatisation analyses. An invitation to negotiations concerning the sale of up to 80 per cent of this bank's shares will soon be issued to selected investors. (Domestic and foreign firms show a keen interest in both banks).
Moreover, work on the elaboration of the concept of restructuring and privatisng Bank Gospodarki Zywnosciowej SA will be completed and preparations made for the privatisation of Bank PKO BP will be made. Government and submitted to the European Commission for approval. One of its basic assumptions is the privatisation of all entities included in the sector. The basic path of privatisation will be the sale of shares through disbursement of majority share packages to strategic investors. The most important element of the steel sector privatisation will be defining a privatisation strategy for the two largest Polish steel mills: Huta im. Tadeusza Sendzimira and Huta Katowice. After the termination of initial talks with investors interested in these steel mills, it will be possible to determine a detailed privatisation schedule for the entire steel sector.
This year, system changes will begin in the energy sector. Pre-privatisation sectoral studies of the area of energy production and distribution will be finished in the middle of the year. From that moment, privatisation of the energy sector will be considerably accelerated. There is a substantial demand for Polish electrical engineering. As with the steel sector, many renowned firms want to participate in the privatisation of this sector. Ownership transformations will take place in all the sub-sectors of power engineering: energy production, transmission and distribution and they will cover several dozen enterprises. In this case, indirect privatisation will be the basic form of privatisation. Shares will either be sold through a public offer or a public invitation to negotiations.investment, innovative and strategic activity than the public sector. In the future, this sector's growing share will undoubtedly have an influence on further favourable structural changes and on the pace of Poland's economic growth.
I wish to emphasise that in the privatisation process, great significance is attached to foreign investments. I am absolutely positive that today Poland is the country in which capital can be safely and effectively invested. The country is open to any investment, regardless of its place of origin. It offers foreign investors attractive conditions to conduct economic activities; it is known for being the largest consumer market in the region, with skilled labour and a favourable geographical location.
Evidence of what I have said is the fact that $30 billion has been invested in Poland by foreign firms since the early 1990s. This is a record amount in Central and Eastern Europe (moreover, the dynamics of new direct investments is not markedly weakening in spite of the world's business setback and a crisis in Asia and Russia).
I hope that your activities will help to continue this desirable trend.