The supervisory board of the Serbian power company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has adopted a new constitution paving the way for the public enterprises’ transformation into a private joint-stock company, to be fully-owned by the state.
The amended by-laws are the first step in implementing the Cabinet’s decisions to reform EPS, professionalizing the company’s management, increasing the efficiency of operations and shaping the power utility into a “regional giant,” the Ministry of Mining and Energy announced in the evening of April 4.
Before the new constitution was adopted, the Ministry and Cabinet consulted with the utility’s labor unions. As a result, the amended constitution stipulates that one member of the EPS supervisory board shall be a company employee representative, so as to further protect the rights of workers.
The document also states that, in addition to its main and other activities, the utility will trade in electrical power.
According to the Ministry’s press release, the changes to EPS’s legal format will “bring order to the relationship between the state and [company] management,” including the provision that, as the its founder, the Cabinet will select the company’s general assembly members.
Mining and Energy Minister Dubravka Djedovic said that EPS is “the lifeblood” of the country’s power system and entire economy and that, therefore, it is a matter of national interest for the utility to be a strong and independent driving force of economic development.
“The change of legal format will ensure more efficient management. Nothing will be sold, no one will lose their job. EPS will simply continue to be a producer and trader of electrical power,” Djedovic declared.
In the opinion of Freedom and Justice Party vice president Dusan Nikezic, the latest changes to the power utility will not be conducive to the professionalization of its management, but will rather achieve the opposite. The new by-laws only increase ruling party control over the company, he said, adding that all of this is happening only a year after the company’s previous regime-appointed CEO brought EPS “to the brink of ruin.”
“The new constitution stipulates that the highest management body is the General Assembly of only one member – likely Minister Dubravka Djedovic, who hasn’t a day of experience working in the energy sector,” Nikezic concluded.