Two Russian ministers are likely to leave the boards of directors of major Russian energy companies after President Dmitry Medvedev urged the withdrawal of state officials from executive positions as part of Russia's attempts to boost business competitiveness.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko will most likely leave the gas giant Gazprom's board of directors, Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said on Thursday at a briefing in Moscow.
"The board includes individual profiled members, first and foremost the energy minister. If we follow the letter of the law the president has laid out, then a replacement is needed," Dvorkovich said.
Shmatko is also likely to leave his chief post in the RusHydro hydropower generator, the presidential aide said.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who is responsible for the energy sector, is also very likely to withdraw from the board of Russia's state-controlled power trader Inter RAO, he said.
Speaking during a modernization and technological development commission meeting in the Russian Urals city of Magnitogorsk on Wednesday, Medvedev said he was dissatisfied with how the government ran its property and ordered it to find independent replacements for state representatives on company boards by the middle of the year.
"We have to eliminate the practice where government officials, I mean those responsible for regulating rules in individual sectors, are board members at companies which operate in the competition environment," the president said.
He said that large state-controlled companies must publish information on planned purchases, including their price and information on closed contracts.
In order to "avoid excessive influence of state-run companies on the investment climate," Medvedev also ordered the government to fix the schedule of Russia's three-year privatization plan.
Privatization was kicked off earlier this year with the sale of a 10% stake in the country's second largest bank VTB for about 96 billion rubles ($3.3 billion).
The list of selloffs includes oil major Rosneft, where 25 percent minus one share is to go under the hammer, RusHydro, in which about 8% will be sold, and about 28% of the Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System.
MOSCOW, March 31 (RIA Novosti)
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