Reports on plans for nationalizing the Electric Networks of Armenia have gained actuality over the recent period, with representatives of even the ruling Republican Party not dimsissing the idea.
Does nationalization imply handing over a venture to government ownership, and if so, is the practice applicable in the 21st century?
Mikael Melkumyan, an opposition lawmaker from the Prosperous Armenia party, says he doesn’t find that nationalization should entail sole ownership.
“What the international practice says is that the state can hand over the system to a concessionary manager, who must be a professional operator. So I don’t think the Electric Networks of Armenia will become a state-owned closed joint-stock company,” he told Tert.am.
Melkumyan said he is more inclined to think that the company’s new concessionary manager will be a private entity, with the state controlling only a part of its shares.
The lawmaker said he remembers that back in the 1990s, the Electric Networks of Armenia hired 25,000-30,000 people.
Commenting on the expediency of nationalization, the lawmaker cited the United Kingdom’s experience, which he said from time to time nationalizes different infrastructures, such as its railway system, the very electric networks, the gas supply system and mining industries.
He recommended against avoiding nationalization (either the term or the practice proper), considering the measure an important tool aimed to increase efficiency in management, attract investments and modernize the system.
According to Hrant Melik-Shahnzaryan, a political analyst, nationalization is quite a realistic scenario which never runs counter to the spirit of time
“It is an important scenario, both legally and technically, so we may need certain political decisions, solutions and probably agreements between Armenia and Russia,” he told our correspondent.
The expert said he thinks the philosophy behind any nationalization program to be the idea of declaring the given facility a supreme public interest.
“The state normally nationalizes those premises which are either of a supreme public interest or have a key strategic significance,” he added.