Russian privatisation programme stalls as Putin rules out fire sale

Russian privatisation programme: President  Putin yesterday ruled out proposals to sell off state companies at knockdown prices in order to meet the country’s budget deficit. “There should be no sale of shares cheaply, at giveaway prices,” he told a meeting between government officials and the heads of major state-run enterprises. “This won’t bring  any particular benefit to the budget.” The government should not give up control of strategically important assets, he added. 
The idea of privatising stakes in a major companies including banking group VTB and oil giant Rosneft had been put forward by ministers as a means of raising money to tackle the growing budgetary deficit left by the plunge in oil prices. Selling off state assets, they argued, could help avoid raising taxes, cutting spending or draining fiscal reserves, while also boosting capital in the banking sector, which has had  limited access to Western capital  since the imposition of taxes following the annexation of Crimea and subsequent events in Ukraine.