Good morning to everyone!
This is my privilege to address this audience. It seems to
me that this is quiet sunny today in our Yalta.
We as the country survived after a number of tremendous
challenges my country is facing.
I was just yesterday thinking about this action plan. This
is the action plan “Recovery for Ukraine”. This is what has to be done in a
short-term prospective and the summary of what we already did.
In the last six months we’ve passed one revolution, we are
still in the state of war, and we’ve got two elections – one presidential and
another one – snap parliamentary elections. It’s not an easy time. And frankly
speaking, the only source of energy for reforms, the energy for changes is this
strong will of the Ukrainian people, strong desire to have new, another
country. And it was up to the people to make these changes in Ukraine, but much
depends on the political elite, much depends on the Government, on the House,
on the President. Much depends on the institutional capacity of Ukraine to
deliver real changes.
Just after we took over the Office of the Prime Minister,
the key factor for us was to resume talks with the IMF. And we did it, we
succeeded in getting the IMF’s and the World Bank’s support. But on the other
hand this coin has two sides. On the other hand, we had to pass very
complicated austerity package, what we did twice.
I won’t say people were very happy with this, but it was
really important that the majority of Ukrainians accepted it. Accepted that the Government shot down a number of entitlement
programs. Accepted that the Government had to
increase the tariffs for households. Accepted that the
Government had to increase tariffs, taxes and rents. Accepted
that the living standards dropped substantially.
And for today we need to explain the reason why they
accepted this and what should they get after this austerity package, after
these tough and complicated reforms. We succeeded in a number of things: the
IMF, partly deregulation, we introduced to the House a number of anticorruption
legislation, partly deshadowed the economy, passed a new procurement law. We did a
lot of good Government stuff. But where we failed? We failed really in
tackling corruption, in overhauling the entire legislating system – eroded
entirely, I would say, eroded judicial system, corrupted judges, ineffective
prosecutors, and Soviet-style militia (or police).
This is the key agenda for the further reforms in Ukraine.
It’s not an easy job to handle reforms having this kind of challenges and
having snap parliamentary elections that are scheduled on the 26th of October. Because politicians are going crazy. Everyone is to promise
everything, for all good and against everything bad. But it is another
political cycle that we have to cross, and we’ll do this. I think about the
composition of future Parliament and the future Government – whether this
future will deliver the future.
In this action plan that I offered to the Ukrainian people,
that the Government of Ukraine offered to the Ukrainian people we clearly
unveiled and unfolded what needs to be done in the energy sector, in
anticorruption, in the tax sphere, in the budgetary policy, in the fiscal
policy. This is not the final one and we can present a very long, comprehensive
with hundred pages of some kind of action plan. But what we need – we need a
clear-cut strategy that is unfolded in this plan.
Few challenges still are not on the table, but still are
looming. The first one and the key one is the war. This Government is the
war-time Government. And let me put it bluntly – we are still in the state of
war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation. And until we get the peace
– it would be really difficult to have real changes. Because
to change the country – you need to get the support of the Ukrainian people.
This is not normal, this is the key factor. Because the
support of the people is the key driver of all reforms. But when
ordinary Ukrainian citizens switch on the TV set and, for example, the first
footage he takes is that Russian tanks invaded Donetsk and Lugansk,
and another footage is that for example the Government
proposes some kind of tax reform. It’s normal that people don’t care about the
tax reform, they care about the security. And the normal reaction of every
normal human being is to go urgently to the bank and to withdraw the deposit.
Than to take UAH and to change it into dollar denominated asset. Fear.
The key priority, not only for Ukraine – but the key
priority to the entire world – is to deter Russia and to stop the war. This is
the key precondition for further reforms. It is crystal clear that we are not
allowed to waste the time. No. But if we stop the war, if we contain Russia –
we will get the chance to attract international investors, because it is not an
easy job to attract an international investor when you have in your country
already Russian tanks and Russian artillery. To regain the credibility of
domestic investors and to be clearly focused on reforms those are needed in the
country. So the first challenge that I’ve already mentioned is the war.
The second one, which is actually a part
of the war – because Russia waged the war to Ukraine not only with the military
tools and means, but with another one – with political, economical and even social.
So, an energy sector. The energy sector is under the
threat and you are well aware that Russia cut of the supply of natural gas to
Ukraine few months ago. And they even went further. Few days ago Russia
substantially decreases the supply of the natural gas to the EU member states –
it dropped by 10%. And the idea was just to stop the reverse flow that we
launched together with a number of EU member-states. And I praise and I command
the efforts of the European Commission and our European partners to build up
this reverse flow.
The third issue is that a number of Ukrainian coalmines were
entirely demolished and dismantled by Russia-led guerillas.
For today we are not out of coal, but we got the problems with the coal supply.
Partly we resolve all this energy challenges. In our gas storage facilities we
got up to 17 billion m3 of natural gas. That’s not enough to have a warm
winter, but this is enough how to go through the winter. Not to be freezed. We started to import coal from different
countries, incl. South-African Republic. This is the first time in the
last two decades. And we believe that in case if we restore law and order in
the territories that are still controlled by Russia-led terrorists, we will
bring back the supply of coal from these areas to Ukrainian
electricity system and to Ukrainian electricity plants.
So, my take on this is that tremendous challenges, huge
problems, but huge opportunities. We are obliged. This is our responsibility –
to deliver, to change the country and to make Ukraine better. And I strongly
believe that in some time we will have European Union Conference in Yalta.