| 26 February 2024, Monday |

Montenegro has no plan to sell state property to ease debt burden, report reveals

After a Reuters article reported top officials as claiming the tiny Balkan country was preparing for asset sales, Montenegro denied it had plans to sell state property to reduce its debt burden, according to a local newspaper on Sunday.

According to a Reuters story published on Friday, Montenegro is aiming to obtain cheap EU loans as part of a scheme spearheaded by state lenders from France, Germany, and Italy to reduce its financial reliance on Chinese loans.

Montenegro, which has a population of 628,000 people, borrowed $944 million from China in 2014 to fund a section of motorway leading to Serbia’s border.

The loan sent total government debt skyrocketing and it now equals 103% of economic output.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Finance Minister Milojko Spajic said the government wants to conduct a strategic evaluation of assets that could lead to sales, albeit he emphasized that Montenegro’s national finances were strong.

However, the Dan daily newspaper reported on Sunday, citing a finance ministry official, that there was no proposal for privatization and that “there is no need for one.”

The official was described by Dan as stating, “This government has assured that Montenegro has the money to finance all obligations, including those to Chinese creditors.”

  • Reuters