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Ukraine's PM Honcharuk Presents His Government Program
2 October, 2019
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Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk at a briefing, speaking about the new program of government activities, Kyiv, September 30, 2019. Press Service of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
Last month, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a new government program that may go to parliament this week. The 120-page program outlines what the government of new Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk plans to achieve over the coming five years. Hromadske broke down the details of the document.

Education

Pre-school ‒ The government plans to increase the number of public and private kindergartens. Educational programs will be updated and teachers will be given further training as well as salary increases of up to 8,000 UAH ($332). There will be an increase in the number of children with special needs in inclusive groups.

Middle school ‒ The "new Ukrainian school" will continue to be developed. The Ministry of Education will develop new standards and programs for primary and high schools and introduce electronic textbooks. They plan to lift the level of rural education to urban standards with hub schools that each territorial community will have.

Technical colleges ‒ At least 45% of graduates should receive secondary specialized education. To this end, 250 training and practical centers will be created at educational institutions and centers for professional development. 

Higher education ‒ The government will support universities that demonstrate the best educational and scientific results. Academic integrity and the fight against corruption in universities will also be a priority.

Science ‒ The government will increase grant funding for science. Special attention will be given to young scientists ‒ they will receive at least 5% of the total funding for the industry.

Healthcare

Ensuring people get sick less will be one of the three priorities in this area. The government plans to launch a series of screening programs to detect diseases at an early stage. It will also work to increase confidence in vaccinations and promote healthy living.

The new Health Ministry leadership plans to continue the reforms initiated by Ulana Suprun and fund services provided in hospitals and clinics, develop the “affordable drugs” program, and treat patients according to international standards.

The government expects that the death rate will decrease by 5% and that Ukrainians will live 5% longer thanks to a system of medical guarantees that will cover childbirth. Emergency medical care should work more efficiently, and transplantology should be developed.

The government has not indicated a timeline, however, most of the above reforms have already been started to be implemented by the previous Ministry of Health team.

The government plans to boost confidence in vaccination and promote a healthy lifestyle. Pictured: a family medical outpatient clinic in Uzhhorod, February 1, 2018. Photo: Janos Nemes/UNIAN

Economy

From next year, the government promises to switch to three-year budget planning. By June 1, 2020, a three-year budget declaration must be submitted to parliament, on the basis of which a budget should be adopted for each year.

At the same time, there are plans to reduce the budget deficit to 1.5% of the GDP in 2024. Currently, the draft budget for 2020 provides for a deficit of 2% of the GDP.

The tax burden should be reduced, and tax payments should take less time.

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The government hopes that in 2024 Ukraine will become one of the top 25 countries with the simplest conditions for paying taxes. Taxpayer disputes are planned to be resolved mainly in pre-trial procedures.

In addition, the government plans to radically make over the newly created State Tax Service: at least half of the leaders of this body and its regional branches should be new people.

The government once again promised a reduction in loan interest rates. In particular, there are plans to create a partial loan guarantee fund for business. The share of state-owned banks in the banking market ought to be reduced by more than half ‒ to 20% (it’s at more than 50% now), including through privatization.

The share of government debt to GDP should drop to 40% from the current 60% and Ukraine’s credit rating should rise to level “A”. Currently, the Standard & Poor's rating agency has it at “B” after a recent increase. 

As a result, the state will spend significantly less on debt servicing than at present. It also wants more than half of the state debt to be in hryvnia, and not in foreign currency, as it is now.

Land Market

The launch of the land market is scheduled for October 1, 2020. Alongside this, mechanisms will be launched to support farmers. With the purchase of at least 500 hectares of land, farmers will be able to get a loan with rates that will not exceed the inflation rate.

Land reform should be beneficial to farmers who plan to continue leasing land: the cost of renting one hectare will increase from 1,700 UAH ($70.6) to 4,000 UAH ($166) in 2024. Agricultural land productivity should increase by 6% annually.

In October, together with the launch of the land market, officials plan to launch a mechanism to support farmers. Pictured: a harvest in the Kyiv region, July 31, 2018). Photo: Inna Sokolovska / UNIAN

Food Safety and Quality 

The government plans to adopt European legislation on product safety and quality. Ukraine will start recognizing food additives that are used in the E.U., and in 2020 a system of voluntary certification of meat and dairy products that are produced without the use of antibiotics will be launched.

Unemployment

The government wants to fight unemployment by liberalizing labor laws. According to officials, simplifying the hiring and dismissal of workers will encourage employers to create new jobs.

It is expected that the unemployment rate in Ukraine should fall by half down to 5%. The State Employment Service will collaborate with private recruitment agencies and educational service providers.

There are also plans to introduce electronic training and job search systems. The government expects that by 2024, 90% of the unemployed will be partaking in employment programs.

State Enterprises

More than 1,000 unprofitable state enterprises in Ukraine will be closed. All strategic state-owned companies will be transferred to the National Welfare Fund, a to-be-created institution that will manage the state-owned enterprise sector. 

Large-scale privatization is also included in the plan, according to which, the state’s share in the economy should be reduced to 5%.

The public e-procurement system ProZorro system will be improved, in particular, by introducing a risk monitoring system and creating training programs for participants.

The government hopes to double the volume of exports of goods and services from Ukraine, particularly through trade negotiations with other governments, and by stimulating export activities.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Railways Ukrzaliznytsia will be divided into three separate companies: an infrastructure operator and freight and passenger carriers. At the same time, private companies will be allowed to use the Ukrainian railway system.

The government plans to make the reformed components of Ukrzaliznytsia as transparent as possible and place their shares on international stock exchanges. It also plans to repair 5,000 kilometers of railways, upgrade 200 locomotives, 800 passenger cars, and 10 Intercity trains.

Furthermore, over the next five years, it wants to repair 24,000 kilometers of national roads as well as install no less than 150 truck weighing systems on the roads. The first system of this kind has already been installed at the entry point to Kyiv.

Aviation plans include the reduction of plane ticket costs in Ukraine to the level of average European prices. The aim is to also nearly double the number of low-cost routes from 38% to 63%.

Social Politics

The government wants to boost the number of people with disabilities in the workforce. To do this, they will improve educational programs and work with employers. The procedure for determining disability groups will change.

The government also wants children to be raised in families and not boarding schools. It plans to increase the number of social work specialists and re-certify those who are working now. More financial support for foster families is also on the books.

Furthermore, a new system for managing social support to Ukrainians (E-SOCIAL) is being developed to help families in difficult social settings. 

Subsidies will continue to be monetized. 

The government also promises to develop a network of social service providers for senior citizens. But the main thing that the state sets out to do is to create conditions for "pension accumulations," the program reads.

Cultural Policy

The Ministry of Culture will build a museum of modern art, complete the construction of the Museum of the Heavenly Hundred and the second phase of the Holodomor Museum.

All cultural institutions will have a single e-ticket and the legal art market will begin to operate.

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Sports infrastructure will be developed but the number of sports that the government will financially support is to decrease. However, this concentration of money and effort is expected to yield results in international competitions.

The Ministry of Culture will also pour its efforts into fighting fake news and disinformation and support projects that help with this. There are also plans to halve Ukrainians' consumption of Russian media content, but no details were given. 

Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons

According to the plan, veterans should receive psychosocial assistance, career counseling, legal advice and help with the prevention of conflict situations in families. The government also plans to introduce an additional guaranteed package of medical services and preferential credit programs for the purchase of housing for them. 

There are also plans to make it easier for internally displaced persons to access administrative services. It will become easier to obtain citizenship-related documents, access to education and to register births and deaths in occupied territories. Internally displaced persons will be able to get a soft loan to buy a house as well as support for integration into society.

Officials plan to simplify the procedure for internally displaced persons from occupied territories to obtain all types of documents. Pictured: Passengers getting off the Luhansk-Kyiv train, Kyiv, 2014. Photo: Vitaliy Kovalchuk/UNIAN

Energy and Environment

The government plans to boost energy efficiency by measures such as increasing the carbon tax and introducing a special excise tax on goods that have a production method that’s extremely harmful to the environment.

The government wants prices for gas, heat and electricity to be at market levels and is looking to provide targeted subsidies in the future to those who spend over 15% of their income on utility bills. 

It also wants to abolish the monopoly on energy supplies and will increase the number of sources and routes for hydrocarbon supplies.

It will introduce a system for automatic monitoring of emissions at enterprises and will oblige them to install measuring instruments within the sanitary zones.

Disposal of garbage at landfills will become more expensive. The government is consciously taking such a step to increase the level of waste processing and to promote separate collection of garbage.

Development of Communities and Territories

A three-tier administrative-territorial division will be introduced: community ‒ amalgamated districts ‒ regions instead of oblasts.

The government advocates a comprehensive renovation of outdated housing and wants to reduce its share by at least 2% every year.

Justice

The state registration system must guarantee the inviolability of rights to real estate and business, and in case of raiding or fraud, tools will be created so those affected can instantly report this. 

The Ministry of Justice will work to ensure that individual registration actions take place without human intervention, minimizing corruption risks.

Fulfillment of contracts should be the cornerstone of doing business. Thus, the government plans to create a mediation system as an alternative to the judicial system.

Bankruptcy proceedings will be transparent, which will allow the lender to quickly return part of the funds.

The government will continue to develop free legal aid services. It will also create a mechanism to execute the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, which will quickly fill in gaps in the legal system.

Law Enforcement 

The Interior Ministry plans to make life safer with the help of analytical surveillance systems, the fight against cybercrime, and the implementation and dissemination of projects such as the “Community Police Officer.”

A situation center, where the information from video cameras is collected, located in a park in Kyiv, August 16, 2019. Photo: Oleksandr Synytsia/UNIAN

Defense

Ukraine’s armed forces will develop according to NATO standards. Ukraine will strengthen cooperation with partner countries. A new system of territorial defense will also be created with the involvement of the population.

A social package for the military will be introduced and a transition will be made to military education programs of NATO member countries.

The government will work to reduce corruption risks in the defense system. In particular, public and expert organizations will help the ministry implement internal management and control systems.