•European Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said the second tranche of $600 million in EU financial assistance will be given to Ukraine in the next few weeks, after the government files a bill in the Rada ending the moratorium on exports of timber. He said Friday that Ukraine is effectively implementing reforms and therefore Ukrainians should receive something in recognition of their success.
•Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman called on international partners to help create a recovery plan for Ukraine similar to the Marshall Plan, Interfax Ukraine reported. Groysman said that in 2014, the European Union and donors offered Ukraine a "Marshall Plan," planned to hold a donor conference in February 2015 and began making preparations. However, nothing ever came of that offer, and Groysman wants to revisit it now.
•EU Commission member Johannes Hahn said Ukraine could achieve greater economic growth, specifically a 6-7 percent rise in GDP, if current reforms continue, Unian reported.
•Economic Development and Trade Minister Stepan Kubiv said unprofitable or bankrupt state-owned businesses will be privatized or liquidated, adding that the government has programs in place to make that happen, Ukrinform reported. Kubiv said 3,500 such businesses are unprofitable and more than 1,000 are bankrupt. He also said Ukraine has a separate program to address companies focused on helping to modernize the Ukrainian military.
•The Deposit Guarantee Fund expects state-run Oschadbank, the second-largest bank in the country by assets, to become part of the fund in the middle of 2018, managing director of the fund Kostiantyn Vorushylin said, Interfax Ukraine reported. The reform program for state-run banks envisions partial privatization of Oschadbank in that time frame.
•The European Investment Bank launched a program Friday in Kyiv that will support small and medium-sized businesses, Ekonomicheskaya Pravda reported. Through assistance with financing and other means of support, the program will help Ukrainian companies make the most of the opportunities afforded by the free-trade agreement with the EU.
•The Kyiv City Council voted to allocate $22.8 million to complete construction on the Podilsko-Voskresensky Bridge, Ukrinform reported. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said previously that the bridge will be open in three years.
•The forest record-keeping project created by the State Forest Agency could garner the support of the World Bank, according to Interfax Ukraine. With realistic information about forest record-keeping, the agency could improve the public forest cadastre and permanently monitor the forests remotely. A working group to discuss approaches to managing forests was created.
•Ukraine is preparing to launch new rail service to Poland, Hungary and Slovakia this year, Novoe Vremya reported. The routes being planned are Volhynia-Chelm, Mukacheve-Budapest and Uzhgorod-Kosice.
•The U.S. Department of Agriculture revised its grain exports forecast for Ukraine in the current agricultural year (July-June), bumping up the total by 1.5 million tons from January. According to the USDA website, the wheat exports forecast was revised up by 800,000 tons and corn exports by 700,000 tons. In related news, the record 2016 grain harvest totaled 66 million tons, of which nearly 42 percent was exported.
•Ukrainian automotive plants produced almost 400 cars and buses in January, a rise of roughly 33 percent from the same month the previous year, Novoe Vremya reported.
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