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By Myrna Alexander, Carlos Corti, World Bank

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Extra info for Argentina's privatization program: experience, issues, and lessons, Page 93

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In fact, this labor reduction program went more smoothly than initially expected. Argentine law provides generous severance payments for public employees, often more than a year's salary. Because their public enterprise salaries were so low, many employees had two or more jobs; severance from their public position gave them more time to dedicate to other work. In some cases, the average age of the workers was extremely advancedin the railways it was over fifty-fiveso that severance pay was close to a generous preretirement bonus.

Privatization also provided for the establishment of an intergovernmental body to regulate the new operator's performance, and responsibility for monitoring water quality shifted to the Secretary of Environment. The New Owners The process of privatization has generated substantial interest from foreign and domestic investors (see Appendix A). More than 200 firms have participated so far, averaging about $50 million per transaction (excluding concession agreements and the sale of excess buildings and land).

Together these companies represent the main railway network for Argentina's agricultural exports. Argentina's oil privatization program also received support from the IFC when it helped finance the development of three privatized oil fields. The IFC may well become one of the major sources of financing to assist the required investment programs at the newly privatized companies. Its investment pipeline for Argentine privatized companies currently stands at more than $700 million and includes aid to the two privatized telephone companies; the electricity distribution company for northern Buenos Aires; the gas distribution company for Buenos Aires; the water and sewerage company; and the electricity transmission line for Yacyreta, a hydroelectric plant financed by the Bank.

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