Russian businessmen are ready to invest 200 million dollars into the privatization of the Georgian ports Batumi and Poti. The Georgian Ministry of Economics informed a Rosbalt correspondent that the LLC Promyshlennye Investitsii is interested in financing the privatization. The Ministry is creating an oversight group to study the condition of Georgian ports, and to ensure the transparency of the privatization process.
The country's new economic minister, Kakha Bendukidze declared recently 'Georgia needs to sell everything but her conscience.' Not everyone agrees with this wide-open position, to be sure. Rosbalt has learned from the Georgian parliament, that the leaders of the majority party National Movement-Democracy, the head of which happens to be Georgian President Michael Saakashvili, will be speaking out against the privatization move. Saakashvili fully endorses Bendukidze in the total sale of government property in Georgia. Neverthless, Georgian law still dictates that strategically important interests, including ports, cannot be sold.
Opponents of privatizing the ports feel that the ports are not as much an economic interest as they are a military and political interest. Their estrangement would deal a big blow to the security interests of Georgia. In the future, say a few experts in parliament, it will be possible to examine the possibilities of partial privatization of ports, but only after the country has entered NATO or the EU, thereby ensuring itself real, not imaginary, safety.