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30 October 1998
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President Kuchma Holds Working Meetings With Odessa Mayor Bodelan And Crimean Head Of Government Kunitsyn
According to the presidential press service, on October 20 President Loenid Kuchma held a working meeting with Odesa Mayor Ruslan Bodelan, who informed the head of state about the socioeconomic development of the regional central city of Odesa, in particular, the status of the municipal housing fund. The two officials also discussed problems involving the use of Odesa oil terminal's capacities, completion of the terminal's construction and supplies of crude oil to the terminal for refining. Preparations for a forthcoming meeting of CIS transport ministers in Odesa were also discussed.
On the same day, President Leonid Kuchma met with Serhiy Kunitsyn, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Crimean Autonomous Republic. The Crimean head of government informed the president about the socioeconomic situation in the Republic. In particular, it was noted that the industrial output had increased by five percent versus the previous year. The two officials discussed preparations for the winter period, the state of the housing fund, and the situation in the agricultural sector in Crimea. The president also showed interest in preparations for the consideration of the Crimean Draft Constitution by the Republic's parliament.
President Leonid Kuchma Visits TV Company "Inter" On Occasion Of Its Second Anniversary
As reported by DINAU's correspondent, on October 20 President Leonid Kuchma visited the TV broadcasting company "Inter" on occasion of its second anniversary. Speaking before the TV journalists, Leonid Kuchma said that his greatest desire is to see a majority created by Verkhovna Rada, which could shoulder all the responsibility for the parliament's activities. The president called for well-coordinated activities by government and parliament aimed at resolving pressing problems of today.
Leonid Kuchma stressed the importance of a speedy resolution of the crisis. With this aim in view, it is necessary to search for more concrete ways and to unite efforts of all power branches, he noted, adding that financial difficulties may be of unpredictable character. In an economic aspect, Ukraine is closely connected with Russia, therefore, developments in the neighboring country have affected the financial situation in Ukraine, said the president. But, as he noted, competent moves by the government and the National Bank of Ukraine prevented a crisis from developing.
President Kuchma underscored the necessity to more widely use internal reserves, and characterized the international investment climate towards Ukraine. There are no cheaper credits than those extended by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, he said, and Ukraine is interested in obtaining these. But at the same time, it should be more resolute in upholding its interests, while signing relevant agreements. IMF's stand may be tougher than dictated by the situation, because representatives of this respected organization often see our problems in their own perspective, noted Leonid Kuchma.
The head of state familiarized himself with the "Inter" company's studios and expressed thanks to the collective for their fruitful creative activities.
Parliament Has Given The Government Vote Of Confidence Which Allows It To Work Normally, States Premier Pustovoitenko
As Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko disclosed during his October 20 "round table" meeting with potential foreign investors, he has proposed to leaders of seven parliamentary factions, which expressed support to the Cabinet during its report to Verkhovna Rada, to nominate their candidates to the government. According to Valeriy Pustovoitenko, such a move would allow the government to draw the best experts from political parties to work in executive bodies.
VR Raises Poverty Line And Minimal Wage
As DINAU's Kyivan correspondents Anzhela Afonina and Larysa Kozik reported, on Wednesday, October 21 the Ukrainian Parliament's majority voted for raising the poverty line and the minimal wage to resepectively 118.6 hryvnias and 148 hryvnias per person per month, beginning with October 1, 1998, as moved by MP Natalia Vitrenko.
President Kuchma Signs Decree Enacting Decision By National Security & Defense Council On Cushioning Crisis Phenomena's Impact On Power Industry Of Ukraine
By decree, the head of state has charged the Cabinet of Ministers with elaborating measures aimed at reducing electric power consumption and the production of power-consuming products that have no decisive importance for the economy's development, surpass domestic economic demands and are noncompetitive.
Under the presidential decree, the government is due to take measures to ensure the implementation of the Complex program for creation of the nuclear-fuel cycle in Ukraine. By the year's end, the project on construction of the "Yushny" ("Southern") oil terminal and the "Odessa-Brody" oil pipeline is due to be completed. It is believed that the project will attract serious domestic and foreign investments.
Government Submits Package Of Program Documents On Ukraine's Social And Economic Development To Parliament For Consideration
This package of documents lays down strategic lines of the entire executive branch's activities, disclosed Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoitenko during the Cabinet's session on October 23. The package includes the Government's Program of Action, Basic Indicators of Ukraine's Socioeconomic Development in 1999, the 1999 Budget Bill, and the Pension Fund's Draft Budget for 1999.
As Premier Pustovoitenko stressed, the documents prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine are aimed at ensuring economic and political stability in Ukraine, where the crisis has been caused by the international and Russian financial system crises. Therefore, over recent months the Ukrainian government has concentrated on a responsible correction of the Cabinet's program, budget and macroeconomic indicators for 1999, said the premier. According to him, the government program approved by a Cabinet's session in January 1998 has already been partially implemented. Now we speak about the introduction of a new investment and innovation model of the Ukrainian economy's development, which should become the next step in economic reforms, said Valeriy Psutovoitenko.
Government Sends 1999 State Budget And Its Action Program To Parliament
Government on October 23 approved the draft law "On the Ukrainian State Budget for 1999" and the Cabinet of Ministers' Action Program. The documents were sent to Parliament.
Among other things, the draft 1999 state budget provides for 23,089,442,600 hryvnia in revenues, 23,769,442,600 hryvnia in expenditures, and a budget deficit of 680 million hryvnia (0.6% of the projected GDP of 117.5 billion) hryvnia.
The draft budget's indicators were based on an exchange rate of 3.82 hryvnia/dollar.
Prime Minister Valerii Pustovoitenko told the October 23 Cabinet meeting that the government is dissatisfied with the draft budget, particularly because it lacks plans to credit the economy.
"Parliamentary adoption of our Action Program will enable the government to work without stoppages," Mr. Pustovoitenko said.
The Cabinet of Ministers' Action Plan was approved at a January 13 Cabinet meeting; it was amended in April and September.
The program has never been sent to Parliament for approval.
IMF Mission Begins Consultations With Ukrainian Government
An IMF mission will hold consultations with the Ukrainian government in Kyiv from October 27 to November 6.
A source in the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers said last week that the negotiations would include Ukraine's implementation of the terms of the IMF's Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan program in October, the government's anti-crisis measures, and its exchange rate policy.
According to the source, the IMF mission's visit is not directly connected with IMF board of directors' meeting scheduled for October 29, at which the decision will be made on releasing to Ukraine the September tranche of the EFF loan (125 million dollars).
"It is an inspection mission that was stipulated in the program. The actions being taken and the measures being implemented during the crisis will be discussed," the source said.
Government: Economy Declined In September Following Period Of Stability In January-August
The Ukrainian economy declined in September after stabilizing in the first eight months of this year, the Cabinet of Ministers said in a statement on October 22.
"The development of the crisis on international financial markets, particularly in Russia, could not but affect the economic situation (in Ukraine). The economic situation worsened in September," the statement said.
The government noted, among other things, that the GDP dropped 0.5% in the first nine months of this year compared with the corresponding period of last year, following a 0.2% growth from January to August. Inflation rose to 3.8% in September and the national currency lost 51% of its value.
The government attributed the economy's decline in September to an unbalanced budget policy, ineffective operation at most enterprises, and the slow pace of structural reform, among other things.
"Ministers and heads of other central organs of government and the heads of regional administrations do not achieve the required level of organizational work and do not take effective measures to implement Cabinet of Ministers resolutions," the Cabinet statement said.