Ukraine is among the three countries where the airline market is developing most dynamically and has risen in the ranking of ease of doing business. At the same time, the country is among the top 5 worst nations in terms of measles. The week before the end of 2019, we look at the most important figures of the year in Ukraine.
In 2019, Ukraine ranked in the top 5 countries in the world of measles rates with 58,000 people ill in 2019 compared to 54,000 in 2018. Overall, since the outbreak of the epidemic in mid-2017, more than 115,000 people have contracted measles, 41 of whom have died.
Also in 2019, Ukrainians continued to sign contracts with family doctors. By the end of the year, over 29 million people signed their contracts.
In 2020, the next phase of reform will begin. From April 1, an ENT, ophthalmologist, or cardiologist will only receive patients with a referral from a family doctor. The medical institution will receive money from the National Health Service for each service provided by such specialists.
Also, in 2019, the electronic prescription service was launched under the Affordable Medications program, and in less than 9 months 1.7 million Ukrainians used the service. They have received free or low-cost medication for over 9 million prescriptions.
More than a quarter of Ukrainian students have not reached the basic level in reading (26%), natural sciences (26%) and mathematics (36%). On December 3, 2019, the Ministry of Education presented the results of the PISA-2018 international quality assessment of education. Several thousand 15-year-old students were evaluated in three areas: reading, math, natural sciences.
The results are worse than in the countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), where 22-24% of students do not reach the basic level.
According to the Ministry of Education, the results of the evaluation are not a verdict, but they have shown problems that need to be addressed. So the ministry plans to make the math exam compulsory within the External independent testing for admission to universities.
In addition to the low math performance, there is a dependence of educational attainment on the family welfare, as well as a large gap in the performance of students in rural and urban areas – a difference of almost 2.5 years of study.
22.5 million passengers have used the airline services in January-November 2019. This is almost 19% more than the previous year.
Ukraine is now among the three countries where the airline market is developing most dynamically.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure plans to increase the passenger traffic to 32 million people in 5 years and to increase the number of Ukrainians who travel airplanes from the current 5% to 15%. The price of tickets should be reduced both through the reduction of taxes and excise taxes, and as a result of competition between carriers.
Ukrzaliznytsia, Ukraine’s state railway company, transported 288 million tons of cargo during the 11 months of 2019. For now, this is the highest figure by type of transportation. Road transport is in second place and it has a much better dynamics of 30.9% growth of cargoes compared to last year.
On the other hand, only 800 km of state roads will be repaired in 2019 by Ukravtodor. In 2018, almost 1,500 km were repaired, according to Slawomir Nowak, now the former head of the state agency. However, his successor, Oleksandr Kurbakov, who recently headed Ukravtodor, says he does not trust these figures because no one has been able to confirm them.
For the second consecutive year, Ukraine approved the budget by December with joint merit of the Cabinet of Ministers and MPs. The 2019 budget was approved on November 14, 10 days earlier than the previous year.
The challenge for the implementation of the state budget will be Ukraine’s currency hryvnia, which significantly strengthened in 2019. In December 2019, one US dollar costs just over 23 hryvnia which is 4 hryvnias less than at the end of 2018.
In turn, a strong hryvnia is one of the factors holding back price growth. The National Bank of Ukraine has reduced the discount rate to reduce the cost of loans and to encourage Ukrainians to buy more goods.
This year, Ukraine ranked 64th in the ease of doing business ranking by the World Bank. This is a 7-position improvement compared to the previous year.
Ukraine has improved its performance by the following criteria:
- obtaining building permits
- connection to power grids
- property registration
- protection of minority investors and international trade
The rating works on the treadmill principle – if you do not make positive changes, or do it slowly, you are sure to be overtaken by competitors.
First Deputy Minister of Economy Pavlo Kukhta believes that Ukraine can reach the top 40 countries next year in terms of ease of doing business.
In 2019, Ukrainian farmers produced a record harvest of grain, improving last year's output by almost 5 million tons. But there will be no record in monetary value – world grain prices have fallen to a 10-year low, and hryvnia has significantly strengthened compared to last year.
With ProZorro, Ukraine has managed to save almost 28 billion hryvnias of budgetary resources.
One of the stable sources of currency in Ukraine is money transfers by Ukrainian migrant workers. Last year, it was $11 billion, and in 2019 the National Bank expects that amount to grow to $11.5 billion. This is more than Ukraine’s 2020 security budget.
On December 21, 2019, Ukraine and Russia agreed to continue the transit of Russian gas to Europe. If the parties fulfill their obligations, an energy crisis will be avoided. However, Ukraine prepared for the possible crisis as much as possible: Naftogaz reported in the fall that it had pumped a record amount of 21 billion cubic meters of gas into underground storage facilities, and this should be enough for the whole winter.
Ukrainians contribute to energy security. This year they received 1.3 billion hryvnias of loans for energy-efficient measures. Warmed buildings, heat points in buildings reduce both energy use and figures in the bills.
Green energy is actively developing in Ukraine. In 2019 solar energy generated 2.5 times more electricity than in 2018.
On December 22, the first elections were held in 86 united communities, with additional local elections held in 33 united municipalities. This is the latest wave of expansion and there are more than a thousand communities by the end of the year. Less than a year before the local elections, united communities occupy 43% of Ukraine's territory and 11.3 million Ukrainians live there.
But the October 2020 local elections pose a new challenge for the government. It is doubtful that the decentralization will be finished by this time on a voluntary basis. Therefore, from January 2020, we can expect legislative changes that will speed up this process.
/Text by Fedir Prokopchuk
/Translated by Vladyslav Kudryk
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