Smallholder shades above the ÁPV Co.!

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The Kisgazdapárt (Independent Smallholders Party, FKgP) will submit its proposal about the liquidation of the ÁPV Co. (State Privatization and Holding Co.) to its coalition partner within weeks. Hearing the smallholders’ statements there is no doubt about the content of their proposal. In the opinion of the FKgP the essential privatization of the state property had been ended already. The institute which was intended to be temporary even at its constitution had fulfilled its mission, so it was time to liquidate it. The remaining state property should be directed by the portfolios or maybe a trust holding to be constituted for this purpose as owner in the future. The FIDESZ, though it makes statements cautiously, is opposed to the raising of its coalition partner so far.

But what is behind the news? The ÁPV Co. and its legal predecessors have never belonged to among the smallholders’ favorites. It had both political and „financial” reasons. Political, because the so-called complete reprivatization included in the change of regime platform of the Kisgazdapárt had never been done after all. In spite of the fact that it was a coalition partner with its indispensable votes both in the first government after the change of regime and in the FIDESZ-cabinet succeeding the MSZP-SZDSZ coalition. The institutes responsible for the privatization and implementing the execution, the ÁPV Co. and its predecessors have never helped on this. And what is more it was the leaders of this organization who presented the unenforceability of the professional proposals of the smallholders, who were advocating this reprivatization, in the media more than anybody. It was partly logical because this organization had the actual details about the volume of the state property. And also about that during the last centuries, and even in the twentieth century, the one and the same land, real estate, firm were confiscated from their rightful owners even several times. Then they were distributed among the new landowners, converted into cooperative societies and/or nationalized. But the one and the same property can be hardly given back several times, to several owners. And for their financial aversion, it was produced mainly by that the adherents of the Kisgazdapárt, according to their judgement, have never had a share according to their deserts and proportion in the fortune of the „party-men” having good political relations following the change of regime. They were coalition partners twice vainly, both the MDF and the FIDESZ, giving the governments, managed and are managing the „rewarding purse” of the power pretty intensively. It is hard to estimate the amount of that corruption money which had got to party-men through the privatization organization by political pressure. I am convinced that the scale of this amount significantly exceeds the hundred billion. It means not only ceding the state property to so-called „designated” people for a fraction of the real value. It includes the own income of the party-nominees assigned to direct the firms which remained state property with assets of several billions. Then their gratitude which had brought ten-billions – hidden behind the certain economical contracts – to where it helped the parties and their influential leaders to establish their financial and economical welfare.

Perhaps it was what annoyed the smallholders most. Its latest example is the bygones in the still most significant agricultural venture, the Bábolna joint stock company. Where the nominee of the FIDESZ took the lead of the company instead of the nominee back by the smallholders. It was the new failure at the most known, mainly for its past, company of the countryside that strengthened the smallholders’ aversion.

Because the proposal of the FKgP could hardly be called professional. The idea to take the direction of the still state property firms, the proprietary rights to the portfolios would not mean anything else but the restitution of the situation before the change of regime. Where the ministerial trust bodies would mean numerous parallelisms in the case of a significantly decreased state property. And the professional knowledge paid separately by the ministries would probably recede or cost many times more. The only benefit of this proposal would appear at the Kisgazdapárt. Because this way in the case of the portfolios directed by the party the property, commissions, leading positions would unquestionably get under the direct influence of the party. Nor the other alternative is less „hollow”. According to this, a new trust holding should be constituted particularly for managing the remaining state property. Then the name of the new holding can be even ÁPV Co.! Perhaps there is nothing implied in the smallholders’ proposal in this case again but that at the constitution of a new organization the coalition partners should discuss the direction of this organization again. Also the leaders’ persons and the decision-making inside the organization should be renegotiated. And the Kisgazdapárt places trust in it that being more prepared now they will be able to obtain better positions in course of these negotiations.

This time the purpose of this writing was raising the few subsidiary thoughts that occured to me in connection with the smallholders’ proposals. In my opinion, with simultaneously minimizing the state property a professional trust body could have a role in the state direction. It could be even the present ÁPV Co. Could be, but the ÁPV Co. fulfilled this role neither in the past and fulfils it nor now. Its operation is very expensive actually. Its leaders are definitely committed politically and, what is even worst, party-politically, they are not worthy of professional credit.

But the real problem is not with the existence of this organization but with the tasks set to the organization, therefore what should be changed is probably the latter. The change could still improve the economical positions of the country by a scale of hundred billions. But at the same time it would decrease the fortune-making of the parties and their influential people!

…………… but of course most of us would scarcely care about this latter, but now it is not the most of us but just the concerned ones who are entitled to decide about this!

János Palotás January 18, 2000

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