By: Armin ALJOVIC
The Federal government of BiH is planning to sell BH Telecom. The move unlikely to bring cheaper phone impulses or a better quality service to the citizens of FBiH. On the contrary, it is more realistic to expect the new owner to fire workers and reduce expenses on the account of return of investment.
A year ago, 'Novi list' from Rijeka wrote: Ever since the privatization of HT (Croatia Telecom), its number of employees from originally 11,500 dropped to 3,600. Only in 2017, HT fired 100 full time employees. Long term workers were replaced with the agency short-term staff and students, which are much cheaper labor.
Serbia did not sell its telecom to any foreign buyer. Serbia offered the shares to the citizens of Serbia. Consequently, Telecom Serbia extended its market to Bosnia and Herzegovina after having bought Telecom of the Republika Srpska.
There is no doubt that the biggest telecom operator in Bosnia and Herzegovina requires a serious restructuring so as to become more competitive on the market. It seems that the current management is also fond of such an idea.
Why is it then that the federal government prefers to sell the BH Telecom instead of pursuing its growth and improvement? The politicians in FBiH would love to put their hands on hundreds of millions KM of proceeds from the sale of BH Telecom, especially in the election year. The key argument of the federal government in their battle against Syndicate are high salaries in BH Telecom. 'Taking into consideration fall in revenues and profits, the proposal is to cut some salary contributions which are enormously high compare to those in the public administration, particularly those in the real sector.' This is how federal government creates an alibi for sale, by saying that the telecom is company of enormous salaries earned for little work. The government would surely know how to use the money from the sale. As if BH telecom employees are self-employed. Political parties, SDA in particular, have been placing their own personnel in the telecom for years. The management was selected by the politics not by technical criteria. The salaries of the privileged party men are huge compare to the rest of the personnel. Millions of KM have been drained out of the telecom for political parties before the idea of sale of the milking cow.
The federal government is now trying to win public support by spreading the story about high salaries in the telecom. They are trying to provoke bitterness among thousands of underprivileged workers of Zeljezara, Krivaja, TTU and other failed companies in BiH. The Prime Minister Novalic and his advisors have discovered a twisted logic. They are telling us they will not fight for minimal wages in the real sector to reach the level of telecom salaries; instead, they will reduce normal salaries to the level of salaries in the real sector.
Novalic's government has some good propaganda: we are doing great, we have excellent results, what crisis – there's no crisis, the future is bright... At the same time, the citizens are living entirely different reality.
Taking control over telecom would mean gaining enormous influence in the society, security control, financial flows, and control of public opinion. Many think that sale of telecom is abandonment of its real value for a state.
Equally important: in the recent past, some individuals made great profits of the sale of valuable state companies. Let's remember numerous corruption affairs in the region, including receiving bribery from those who advocated for the sales.
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