President of Ukraine: Process of economic reforms shall become irreversible
President of Ukraine, official web-site, on January 14th, 2011:
Chaired by President Viktor Yanukovych, a meeting of the Governing Board of the Committee on Economic Reforms was held.
Opening the meeting, President Yanukovych said that he considers 2011 a turning point in the development of our country. "This year, the process of economic reforms initiated by us in the middle of last year shall become irreversible," he said.
President Yanukovych said that the key question is organizational and intellectual support of the planned changes. According to him, the Committee on Economic Reforms and its Governing Board will act as a "reformist headquarters" to accumulate ideas and at the same time provide rapid response to issues in the process of reform.
President Yanukovych also said that the previous period has been stabilizing in terms of creating effective system of government. "Positive shift in the economy gives hope that we have chosen the right path," he said, noting that GDP growth and reduction of the budget deficit were observed. "Stabilization of the economy in many areas gives us hope that we will be able to ensure economic growth," he said.
President Yanukovych noted that positive developments in the national economy must produce improvement of the situation in social sphere. "Social security is our responsibility. We must do everything for our citizens to fully make use of the positive results achieved in the economy. It means that we need to raise social standards, do everything so that people actually felt positive results of our steps," he said.
Very important task, President Yanukovych said, is bringing order in public finances. Addressing Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who was present at the meeting, he said: "Many times I have told you that our post factum examination of violations in the public sector looks like we do not control this process. We should be taking pre-emptive measures, controlling the situation during the financial year."
President Yanukovych said that in the process of implementing the reforms the new government unfortunately has to face conformist attitudes and even opposition of the bureaucracy. "This opposition is often camouflaged by various political slogans. Inertia, habit of living in the shadow, political populism and demagogy are real hindrance to change," he said.
Speaking about the ways to minimize these risks, President Yanukovych said the only way is to speed up the reforms and improve their sequence and coordination.
Undoubtedly, President Yanukovych said, the reform process is painful. So it should not be protracted. The actions must be decisive and quick.
"Today is the first meeting of the Governing Council of the Committee on Economic Reforms. We should discuss the priorities for this year. The first thing we should discuss is completing the reforms initiated last year," he said, addressing the present.
President Yanukovych said the first question is deregulation. He reminded that the Committee had had two meetings on this topic. A number of "revolutionary" laws have been adopted.
"My strong requirement is to complete the urgent work of deregulation," Viktor Yanukovych stressed, adding that the completion of tax reform is also urgent. "The adopted Tax Code laid the new philosophy of relations between the state and taxpayers. However, I demand the government to finalize and adopt all the necessary regulatory and legal acts necessary for its full implementation," he said.
President Yanukovych noted that the started budget reform must be completed too. In particular, it is necessary to reform the organization of local budgets and intergovernmental relations.
Viktor Yanukovych also stressed that major reform of government has started recently and expressed confidence that executive authorities will start working more smoothly and efficiently in the new format.
In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych said, people's confidence in the banking system has started to renew. The work in this direction must continue, future of troubled financial institutions decided and strategy of state banks development outlined. "I expect the new management to provide proposals in this direction," he said.
Among the challenges for 2011 President Yanukovych named the continuation of land reform. "I know there will be a lot of politicians’ speculations on this reform. But there are currently many people, who understand that this reform has to be implemented. The level of corruption in the land use, the shady deals, force us to begin and complete this process as soon as possible," he said.
In addition, Viktor Yanukovych said, the agro-industrial complex has finally become a "growth point" and one of the leading sectors of national economy, providing for competitive advantage of Ukraine at global markets.
"In 2011, we should create incentives for modernization of the economy. Profound changes must occur in the situation with infrastructural and natural monopolies. Especially, in such sensitive sector as utilities.
The development of domestic market requires urgent attention too. Among the priorities are development of its infrastructure and wholesale trade, introduction of effective anti-monopoly and competition policy, etc.
The reform of education will continue, which aims to lay the foundations for "knowledge society" and innovative transformations in education.
I also consider social reforms urgent. First of all, Ukraine needs a modern, efficient and balanced pension system and fundamental changes in the healthcare system. I have already mentioned at one of the Committee’s meetings that the current state of affairs in healthcare is another challenge for us. We must find an immediate, decisive and correct answer to it," he said.
"Once again, I would like to warn you all that we have a lot of very hard work in front of us. Today, I would like to hear you present reforms’ schedules and your vision of them in the areas you are responsible for.
The result of this meeting must be concrete timetable of the implementation of reforms in 2011. Investors should see that with reforms we have started they can safely and profitably invest their money in Ukraine.
Finally, I would like to emphasize the need for constant communication with the citizens and proper information support of the reforms," President Yanukovych said.
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