Focus on Debt and Assets

Public Debt and State Property

András Giday
Certified Economist, PhD, Contributor, Budapest Enterprise Development Research Institute
Published in: Public Finance Quarterly 2011/4 (p. 474-482.)

Summary: The author analyses the possibilities of substitution between state debt management and state property. He postulates that there are possibilities for substitution over a 2–4-year time span. In the short run, debt can be decreased by spending less on the refurbishment of physical assets, but this could have a boomerang effect later. The author proposes the obligation to draw up a balance sheet for the assets of municipalities as well as for those of the central government. The enterprises listed in the Hungarian Act on Property are categorised according to their share of the state property. A new category of key national assets is proposed. This could be a safeguard against over-ambitious privatisation. For key national assets, due renovation should be a requirement, even if they are in private ownership. The author proposes the conclusion of strategic contracts between the state and managers of national property. In the 10 new EU Member States, projects involving at least two countries should be implemented and operated in a joint effort. The ownership of assets by larger regions, and the joint management of such assets could be a model to be followed by other members of the EU.

Keywords: transportation and utilities – general, privatisation, public enterprises, national budget – debt

Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) kód: L90, L33, L32, H63


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