Parliament Holds Discussions over Main Gas Pipeline Privatization

On July 6 the Georgian parliament held debates over the privatization of the main gas pipeline. At the special plenary session, MPs discussed the bill on state property by first hearing.

The submitted framework bill unites all laws on privatization of state property, land plots and local self-government property. The bill includes the list of assets, which are not subjected to privatization and are considered to be strategic assets. As reported, the main gas pipeline is not mentioned in the list.

Lasha Tordia, one of the authors of the bill, says if the main gas pipeline is privatized, the government will maintain the casting vote.

The ruling party MP Pavle Kublashvili said it is strange the opposition is interested in only the main gas pipeline and not in other important issues in the bill.

“The bill does not say the gas pipeline will be transmitted to the Russian Federation”, Kublashvili said and added there is a political decision the state maintain the casting vote.

Guram Chakhvadze from the National-Democratic part noted the bill should ban the privatization of a 100 percent stake of the main gas pipeline. He also added it is inadmissible to sell a 49 percent stake to one entity. At the same time, Tordia said shares may be either acquired by individuals or placed at the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

At the meeting, the sides agreed that the government and the parliament hold consultations prior to the second hearing.

As reported, Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri noted on July 2 a 10 to 15 percent stake of the main gas pipeline will be placed at the London Stock Exchange.