19:34 PM Monday, October 22, 2018 Friday, May 11
Russia ordered to pay compensation over annexation of Crimea; Government clarifies approach to privatization; Obstacles and costs related to land privatization; Aircraft industry to be supported.
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Hague court orders Russia to compensate Ukrainian companies for losses in Crimea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has issued a unanimous judgment that Russia is responsible for violating the rights of Ukrainian investors and should compensate their companies for damages arising from its annexation of Crimea. The trial was initiated by 18 Ukrainian companies and one individual against Russia on 19 June 2015. Russia is obliged to pay compensation (worth about $159 million) for losses caused.

Cabinet of Ministers meeting on 10 May charts way forward.The latest government meeting brought important clarification from the prime minister and others on key issues on the agenda and commitment to reform.It occurred against the background of time running out to meet IMF, World Bank and EU conditions to secure essential additional credits and funding, as well as internal positioning before the election season is formally declared open.

Prime Minister stresses need to advance privatization, but done properly. "We need to create the foundation for economic growth….Privatization will enable us to leverage investment, start modernization and achieve the said target", Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman stressed.“I understand that there is a negative experience of the privatization held in the ‘90s. Our objective is to sell non-strategic enterprises. We should find effective owners that will ensure creation of new jobs, modernization (of production)," he elaborated. But a transparent process of attracting new owners is needed to eradicate corruption. "We are opening a new page of qualitative process by taking appropriate decisions," the government portal reports him as saying.

Groysman outlines plans for transparent privatization. "Strategically important state-owned enterprises will be kept in state ownership,” the prime minister announced “Small-scale privatization objects will be sold through an online auction. There will be a market sale of assets. The privatization of large-scale objects (non-strategic) will be implemented with the involvement of highly qualified advisers, who will give the right information to all stakeholders. After, open auctions (for such enterprises) will be conducted too. We will put an end to the shadow privatization", the government portal reports him as saying.

Prime Minister stresses urgency and importance of creating an Anti-corruption court. Groysman told the Cabinet of Ministers that the creation of an Anti-corruption court is needed, first and foremost for Ukraine itself, rather than for the EU or IMF."Next Monday two plenary weeks [in parliament] begin; this is enough time for consideration of the draft law on the Anti-corruption court….The Cabinet of Ministers, for its part, will do its utmost to launch the work of the court," he said, as reported by the government portal. “It will be, among other things, a signal to investors," he added.

Large state-owned companies are to have supervisory boards. The prime minister announced that all large state companies, starting with Ukrzaliznytsia, Ukrenergorynok and Ukrposhta, will have supervisory boards. Such a type of control is considered necessary in order to improve the efficiency of the companies, Ukrinform reports.

Cabinet of Minister adopts plan for supporting development of SMEs. The government has adopted a plan of measures to implement the Economic Development and Development Ministry's strategy for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ukraine for the period until 2020, Ukrinform reports. "There are almost two million small and medium enterprises operating in Ukraine, accounting for more than half of the country's gross domestic product,” First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv said. The plan is aimed at enhancing the government’s work in promoting the development of this sector of the economy.

Components of government’s plan to support SMEs. The strategy, according to Ukrinform, includes a number of directions for creating a supportive environment for SME development, increasing access to finance, simplifying tax administration, promoting entrepreneurial culture and developing entrepreneurial skills, enhancing the competitiveness and innovation potential of small and medium enterprises.

Government approves strategy to stimulate aircraft construction revival until 2022.It is aimed, according to Ukrinform, to promote “the stable development of the aircraft industry and the creation of conditions for the formation in 2022 of cost-effective and high-tech production of aviation equipment to ensure a gradual growth of production and a sale of new competitive models of serial, modernized passenger and transport aircraft, helicopters, small and unmanned aircraft carriers.”

Moratorium on sale of land costly and politicized, World Bank official states. The moratorium on the sale of land extended by the parliament for a year in December 2017 is economically damaging, unfair to landowners, and sustains corruption. The full economic potential of Ukraine’s agriculture so long after the demise of the USSR is still not being developed properly, Satu Kahkonen, the World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, has told Bloomberg. “6.9 million landowners – every 6th Ukrainian – have the lowest salary in Europe for leasing their lands when the quality of agricultural soil in Ukraine is one of the best in the world,” she said.

Politics used to protect vested interests in maintaining the moratorium on privatization of land. The authorities are reluctant to move ahead on the issue for fear of losing election votes and in the meantime businessmen and officials “create opaque schemes” to profit from the agricultural lands, the World Bank official Kahkonen elaborated. “Politicians consider the idea of a moratorium on “farmers’ security” as a tool to get electoral dividends,” Maksym Martyniuk, Deputy Minister of Agricultural Policy, concurred, Ekonomichna Pravda reports.

The National Bank (NBU) updating measures to prevent corruption. As part of its mandatory regular corruption risk assessment process, the NBU is preparing to update its system for preventing and counteracting corruption and ensuring compliance with the current relative legislation, the Bank reports.

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