24 October 2016

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Minister of Social Policy Reva: 12.5 mln Ukraine pensioners live at cost of 6 mln honest workers

Social Policy Minister Andriy Reva in an interview with UNIAN has told when the Ukrainians should expect a significant increase of social standards, why the retirement age should not be raised today and also how the talks with the IMF are developing.

Reva told when the Ukrainians should expect growth of social standards / Photo from UNIAN
Reva told when the Ukrainians should expect growth of social standards / Photo from UNIAN

The situation of the pension system in Ukraine has become a matter of national security. On the one hand, the Ukrainians receive low pensions, and on the other – the Pension fund has not enough of its own funds to guarantee even these minimum payments.

The main way out of this vicious circle the Minister sees in ensuring economic growth as well as expanding the number of payers of a single social contribution, increasing and de-shadowing salaries. The Cabinet plans to have drafted the relevant legislative initiatives by this fall so that the people could feel the change as early as November.

You recently said that the pension reform - is a matter of national security. Can you explain what threat the Ukrainians are now facing?

It's very simple. The average pension in Ukraine is UAH 1,900. If you ask the average citizen, whether this money is enough to live through a month, I think anyone who has any common sense will tell you that you can’t survive in Ukraine with this money. When 12.5 million retirees receive such average pension, isn’t it a matter of national security? This is the first thing.

Secondly, the Pension Fund lacks its own funds to even guarantee payments of these pensions. Therefore, the state has to subsidize the Pension Fund. This subsidy has increased by UAH 65 billion compared with the last year. For comparison, we spend for the Armed Forces UAH 57 billion. Of a total of UAH 257 billion in the Pension Fund’s budget, UAH 145 billion comes from the state budget to ensure payment of meager pensions.

If we want to increase pensions, we also have to increase subsidies from the budget. This means taking money from doctors, teachers, infrastructure, and everything else. We have found ourselves in a situation when living on meager pensions is impossible, while increasing them would mean extracting additional funds from the state budget. We got into a vicious circle, and the only way out of it is through reforming our pension system.

Is such an excessive growth of the budget deficit of the Pension Fund related to an almost twofold reduction in 2016 of the single social contribution (SSC)?

If we are talking about the latest jump, then yes, it is. But we also had a deficit of UAH 80 bln before that. After all, at the core lies the problem that our Pension Fund is deficient as such. By lowering the SSC, we just increased this deficit by UAH 65 bln. Was it a smart move? From my perspective, it wasn’t. Although some people criticize me and keep saying that the move was right.

By taking this decision, the government hoped to de-shadow salaries ...

They hoped for many things, in general. We often have some sweet dream, without proper calculations of the possible consequences, and make decisions, thinking that things will somehow get settled. As an example, I can name the Law on Civil Service, which came into force on May 1. They appealed to the public: "See, our civil servants have big salaries now." There’s just one problem – they forgot to increase the payroll. As a result, people keep getting the same money, while the others point fingers at them with envy. Is that the right way to reform?

Today we are being pushed to take other steps, saying that a funded pension system must be introduced as soon as possible because it will immediately solve all the problems. And if I believe that it is premature to introduce it, it means I am a retrograde and so on. Another radical revolutionary appeal calls for an immediate monetization of subsidies. They say that all 9 million people with the right to subsidies should get them in cash, and they think that this money will be paid immediately. I favor we make reasonable and responsible decisions and assess consequences of what we do.

Our creditors also emphasize on the issue of reducing the deficit of the Pension Fund. Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko said that negotiations on the memorandum with the IMF have not yet been completed, claiming it hasn’t been signed, particularly because no concerted solutions were found to this problem...

Tell me, do we need anyone to tell us from the outside? Don’t we understand hat is going on? If we have this problem and we see it, why do we need the IMF? They just asked us a question: "You came to us for the money. Why is there not enough money? Let's look at your problems." Two years ago, the main problem was a UAH 114 bln deficit in Naftogaz, while the Pension Fund had a UAH 80 bln deficit. Today, Naftogaz is becoming deficit-free, but there is this UAH 145 bln deficit in the Pension Fund. And the IMF is asking: "How are you going to address this problem? We were just wondering where you would put that money.”

They are not just asking, they’re offering solutions. For example, raising the retirement age ...

They take a standard set of measures – how the other countries see their way out of this situation – and they also ask us what we offer. If we don’t offer anything, then they do. But we say that we must first identify the components of the deficit. We need to find out whether there are other solutions to the problem. And if we have reasonable and adequate suggestions, the IMF listens.

We took an active stance at the talks. Yes, we have a UAH 145 bln deficit. At this, we have 26 million people of working age and 12.5 million retirees. This is a normal ratio. It’s not that there is not enough population to support pensioners. But we have 16 million workers, 1.7 million are officially unemployed, and the status of nearly 8 million people is unclear. They say, some have been working abroad, some – “in the shadows”… The remaining 16 million are officially employed, but only 10 million of them pay the SSC. And of these 10 million people, 4 million receive minimum wage. That is, it appears that 6 million of honest working people pay the SSC, which feeds 12.5 million pensioners.

So the first question is whether this ratio can somehow be changed. In Poland, with the same demographic indicators, there are 22 million SSC payers. If our 26 million SSC payers paid at least UAH 22 million, with another UAH 4 million being dissolved somewhere, we would still go “Wow!” The revenue of the Pension Fund would’ve been not a mere UAH 112 bln, but UAH 224 billion, and the problem would’ve been not so acute.

Reva notes the need to reach popular consensus on an SSC issue / Photo from UNIAN
Reva notes the need to reach popular consensus on an SSC issue / Photo from UNIAN

Let's start with this. We must see why we have 4 million people receiving the minimum wage and driving expensive cars at the same time. Why there are the heads of private companies and their chief accountants among them? Let's see why we have the whole sectors of economy excluded from the mandatory payment of the SSC? Why do private notaries not pay the SSC, or pay as they wish? This is plain wrong.

And if we ask ourselves these questions, we begin to understand that the problem of the Pension Fund deficit is our internal problem because we have no uniform rules on pensions. Therefore, we should start with a national dialogue to find a consensus, to agree within the country that everyone must pay the SSC. It is our sacred duty, even a more important one than paying tax on personal income. There is no need to catch and penalize anyone, we must all reach an accord. That’s because we pay the SCC not to the State but to ourselves.

The call to reach an agreement is a good thing but how can we actually increase the number of SSC payers? Some employees are really working in the shadows, but they can’t be forced out of there…

We shouldn’t force them out, we need to stimulate them. Let's forget the words "force them out" and "make them". Here we have a subsistence level, to which a unified tariff in the public sector is tied, and to this index, the minimum wage is tied in turn. What do we have? There are these swing moves with the calls like: "Let's raise the subsistence level!" It was raised by UAH 10-20, the tariff scale was also raised respectively, thus raising the minimum wage in the public sector. What did the business do? It also raised salaries by UAH 10-20. And that’s how we’ve been moving at a snail's pace. At the same time, we are being criticized for the fact that the minimum wage equals a subsistence level. And we answer that to increase the minimum wage, we’ll have to raise all other social standards, but we have no money to do so. And such a debate has been ongoing in Ukraine for 25 years.

Strategic advisers Ivan Miklos and Leszek Balcerowicz said: "You have an upside-down mindset." A locomotive of any development worldwide is a non-governmental sector. In Ukraine today, the private sector drags behind the state, and the situation should be the opposite. Therefore, they advise to untie the subsistence level from the minimum wage and raise the latter at a legislative level. Let the minimum wage today be not UAH 1,450, but UAH 2,000-3,000. Whether we want it or not, the wages must be raised in the private sector. Accordingly, we will get additional resources, which we will spend on raising salaries in the public sector.

That is, first we raise the minimum wage, then there is growth in the private sector, then we raise the tariff scale in the public sector, and then we gradually raise the subsistence level. That’s what they did in Poland and Slovakia. We’ll have the non-state sector go up, but it would pull up the public sector as well. Of course, there will be a difference and there will be a gap, but this wage growth will compensate for all the other troubles. People in business and the public sector will not receive the same salary, but all of them will get more than they do today. It’s up to you to decide, which way to choose, the strategic advisors tell us. We are also considering their suggestions.

If we launch the process of growth of real wages in Ukraine, we will soon see the problems being solved. For this year, we have planned a 6% increase in social standards in May and December. Has it solved the problem? No. We decided to raise them to 10% in December, but it does not solve the problem either. We need other breakthrough solutions that would let us raise salaries sharply and make them grow further and come out of the shadows.

In this direction, we have been working with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. I think we will finish the work this summer and submit to the Parliament a package of proposals to be considered along with the budget for 2017. I personally don’t see any other solutions to the problem of low revenues of the Pension Fund and low pensions. Our strategic advisers say the same thing – without  economic reforms, we will not achieve the result. By the way, have you noticed that Arseniy Yatsenyuk [Ukraine’s former Prime Minister] was criticized for not implementing reforms, and we are being criticized for quite another thing – for making the wrong moves.

You also had an idea to establish the minimum size of a single social contribution at UAH 640 ...

I meant that we should make it unprofitable to pay wages lower than the minimum. Today we have a situation when the lower official salary you show, the lower share of this salary you must pay to the budget. Let's do the opposite: the more the salary, the lower share you pay to the budget. Suppose we even have lower contributions to the budget, but it will become profitable for the people to show a bigger salary.

Why would the budget get less money with the SSC being set at UAH 640?

UAH 320 – this is an SSC today of the minimum wage. If we set it at UAH 640, this would mean that everyone pays the same amount within the limit of two minimum wages.

So the budget loses nothing, it even wins...

We don’t lose because 4 million people who get the minimum wage will be required to pay UAH 640. But if the employers pay more than two minimum wages, they pay a 22% SSC, as it is established now. That is, it is more profitable for them to pay more than pay less. And the bigger the salary of the employees, the more tax on income they pay. With the "gray" salary, the tax on income will be lower, but the employee will have to pay that UAH 640 of the SSC anyway. Psychology of our entrepreneurs says that they wouldn’t benefit from the scheme of paying minimum wages anymore.

What else can we win in this case? If the employers show the minimum wage, we additionally pay from the budget for social benefits, subsidies for these employees and so on. If the employers show bigger official salary of the employees, they don’t spend more on the SSC, and we, in turn, save on social benefits.

But it seems unfair to those who receive less than two minimum wages. One person receives, for example, UAH 1,500, the other gets UAH 2,500, while paying the same SSC of UAH 640...

Let the people receive a lower"white" salary today, they will get better pensions. And the employers will see that they spend more, while their employees spend less from salaries but they also get social benefits. They will get mad at all this. They’ll sit and count. They’ll understand that it is better to pay their employees more in “white" salary, save on this, but their employees will get less. That’s human psychology. This is my personal opinion, I don’t know how the Ministry of Finance and the Economy Ministry approach the issue, but I would them do it this way.

That is, one way to reduce the deficit of the Pension Fund is to raise the number of SSC payers. What are the other ways to solve this problem?

Frankly speaking, the only real way to reduce the deficit of the SSC is to ensure economic growth. MP Vadaturskyi May 19 made an interesting statement, at which for some reason no one paid real attention. And he is a man familiar with the matter, his father owns an agricultural holding called Nibulon. So, the MP said that 30% of Ukraine's GDP is produced in agriculture, and it is located offshore. All large agricultural holdings are registered anywhere but in Ukraine. That is, the money is earned here but taxes are paid elsewhere. It should be noted that agriculture is one of the promising spheres of the Ukrainian economy.

The second problem is the IT industry. Why are there so many IT experts in Belarus? Because they have a sensible state policy toward this sector. An environment should be created for these people, they just shouldn’t be bothered. In Belarus, the government told them: you pay $150 for each employee, and no one will ask any stupid questions anymore. They paid, and no [inspections] bother them anymore. Look at what is happening in Ukraine with our IT sector. I can’t understand what the reason is for doing this. This is huge and is still under-used potential of our country. We also have other sectors that are able to quickly develop and fill the budget, including the Pension Fund, given the right state policy is implemented.

Is raising the retirement age offered by the IMF an option?

Before raising the retirement age, we need to restore order in the pension system. I understand perfectly that the demographic situation in Ukraine will sooner or later lead us to such a step, but not today. We should first resolve other issues. And when we do – it might take several years – we will face a challenge of the increasing number of pensioners and the falling number of SSC payers. That’s why we don’t have in the government action plan, neither is it spelled out in the president’s program. Beside, we have no public consensus on this issue.

Is it spelled out in the memorandum of cooperation with the IMF?

No, it’s not in the memorandum. They didn’t write anything about the mandatory raise of the retirement age. I want to address another issue. With the official retirement age of 60 years, do you know what is the average age the Ukrainian men retire?

49 years.

Absolutely correct. I could already be retired. Why is it so? That’s because we have military who have earned early retirement. Same goes for police and other specific categories of workers. There are those whose retirement age is lowered due to working in hazardous conditions. When we add all these cases up, we get an average age of 49 years. But this is not normal. No financial system can survive such things.

There are military who have earned early retirement, says Reva / Photo from UNIAN
There are military who have earned early retirement, says Reva / Photo from UNIAN

We have a retirement age of 60, and the Ukrainian women will also retire at 60 soon considering the ongoing pension reform. We have people who have earned early retirement working in hazardous conditions, which is justified. Then we have the law says if you want to get a pension, you must reach a pensionable service of 35 years for men and 30 – for women. And so, you turn 60 and you have a 35 years of pensionable service, but someone else doesn’t. However, both of you retire. Is this normal?

But without securing a pensionable service, I will get a lower pension...

I am talking about a different thing. The right to a pension is provided by an insurance period. But what if you don’t have it?

You continue working...

See, it is logical. But our law says that you still have the right to retire. Hence the question – will you pay the SSC if you are eligible for a pension anyway? In my opinion, this question is ridiculous. That is why we have to establish common rules for all. If I have worked for 35 years, I fulfilled the conditions and retired at 60, but if you have not – you retire at 65. Of course, this does not apply to those who have worked in hazardous conditions. This way, everyone will know that they need to earn their insurance period and pay SSC, instead of waiting until retirement age comes.

Are you offering that the pensionable service be 35 years for the military as well?

No. Everyone should have the pensions under a single law, except for the military. Our Constitution states that the military need special support. That we have, and there should be no change because people risk their lives. But for all other people, there should be one law – for judges, prosecutors, scientists, and civil servants. Everyone should be under one law, and there should be one approach.

I wonder how many pensioners are there of these categories and what is the money we are talking about?

Today, there are few. This is not a fiscal problem but the problem of social justice. Everyone should be on an equal footing. You know the rules and you are the master of your fate.

How about a funded pension?

Let's put simple - when can we accumulate funds for the pensions? When there is a surplus. Today, the Pension Fund deficit is UAH 145 billion, so we can not pick out anything for accumulation. Therefore, we need to take money with people. I have already told you about the ratio of workers: of 16 million, 10 million pay SSC, and of this number 4 million receive minimum wage. What are we taking and from whom? Again, from those 6 million who honestly pay SSC, pulling them down toward those who continue hiding. Under these initial conditions, it would be impractical to introduce the funded pension system.

The second point. We took the money, but where do we put it? They can’t just lay there, they must work, not to depreciate, they need to be invested somewhere. But this is not a bank, this is an investment fund, which should not chase after profits, but rather give a guaranteed income, 1-2% higher than inflation. Last year, the inflation was 49%. What has to be the yield of securities for us not to lose our money?

It was an unusual year, but this year, the outlook for inflation is 12%, which is below the income on deposits...

Alright, but do you remember what happened in Russia when they froze the retirement savings of the population?

Now that is a question of expediency of creating a public accumulation fund because the government will always be tempted to get into the pockets of people and use their savings. There is an option with a non-governemntal accumulation fund...

OK, we give the money in private hands. But how many banks have burst as of today?

But the pension funds have not burst ...

Then try to name at least one private pension fund, which has operated in Ukraine for 20 years.

There are also insurance companies...

And which of them have not gone bankrupt?

For example, those which deal with life insurance and are able to get reinsured abroad ...

But you look at the terms of their insurance policy. A representative of the insurance company just comes to a head of a large company, writes all employees up for the insurance plans and pays the money. I do not know what relationship there is between them, but obviously, the head of the company benefits in some way. It's called life and health insurance. But it seems to me that the insurance is when I come to the company, sign a contract and, pay while being aware of what awaits me.

Do you know many companies working this way? I know almost none of those in Ukraine. So even if we take this additional resources, we will have trouble investing them. Of course, you can invest abroad, but we will then encourage the development of other economies, pumping life out of our own. We must first create the conditions for the funding system. Let wages rise at least two or three times. It wouldn’t be such a large sum considering the minimum we have today. Only then will we be talking to people when they have some money on hand.

But the bill on pension reform No.4608 has already been submitted to the Rada. It stipulates the date of the launch of the funded pension system - July 2017. What do we do if the bill is adopted?

I cannot predict for the deputies, but my position as minister is that it would be premature. I do not mind a funded system. I had worked as head of department from 2000 to 2005, right when the pension reform was just beginning. It was never completed, and then was the time when the new principles of pension provision were introduced, a three-level system was promoted.

Do you know who killed the funded pension system at the time? Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, back in 2004, when he said that everyone would receive a pension not lower than a subsistence level. That was the moment when the pension system and pension reform were killed.

When personalized contributions were introduced in 2000 and everyone knew that their pension depended only on how much they would save, the revenues of the Pension Fund were growing strikingly. In 2004, an end was put to all this because Yanukovych wanted to be elected president and he said: "Do not worry, we will add [some money]." So here we are now...

That is, we must once again tie the pension to how much a person has accumulated during their lifetime, right?

To the size of payments. For example, in the Soviet Union, there was a two-level pension system. On the one hand, there were pension payments coming from the budget, and then there was that second level – the savings. It was a voluntary level and it was called Oschadbank. People could put any amount in Oschadbank. By 1991, everyone had had their savings book with the money on it accumulated for the retirement period, and everyone knew it.

When everything collapsed in 1991, we have lost confidence in banks and this funding system in general. I would, for example, consider whether to introduce a compulsory or a voluntary funded system. It is better to create a state or non-state agency that would have the state guarantee on any sum of a pension contribution, for anyone to be able to put their money there at their own will. With this approach, though it looks as somewhat returning to the past, it would have a more rapid effect. When the number of those willing to be insured for their retirement period becomes large enough, we will be able to introduce some mandatory elements. Although I don’t know how things will go with this bill No.4608, I don’t believe it will be adopted quickly.

Everything related to pension reform is moving very slowly. The last bill on funded pension has remained back-shelved in the Rada for a year ...

This is a fairly complex issue. For example, when it was about judicial reform – and it also was a complex issue – it got resolved quickly. Why? That’s because there was a consensus.

Or political will...

Political will based on consensus. Even if I have will to do something but there’s no consensus, I won’t do it. They agreed, reached some common parameters, then voted for the law on judicial system and status of judges, then the constitutional reform, and then they had more than 300 votes. On pension reform, believe me, there will be no other mechanism. This, if you will, is also a constitutional amendment. Therefore it is necessary to seek broader consensus and explain to people what we want to do.

You also stated that you must clean the Pension Fund from non-core payments and pay them directly from the budget ...

We need to return to the state what it had once put on the shoulders of the Pension Fund. Today, the non-core payments from the Pension Fund amount to approximately UAH 50 bln. These are various bonuses, for example, to not let the pensions be lower than the subsistence level for those who do not have enough pensionable service or own contributions. Today, there are 7 million of such pensioners. There are other nono-core payments, such as additional payments to veterans and other categories of citizens.

Photo from UNIAN
Photo from UNIAN

So, summing up proposals to reduce the deficit of the Pension Fund, we have the following – we have to increase the number of SSC payers and raise the minimum wage at a legislative level...

Raising wages through economic growth and de-shadowing. These are the basic mechanisms. And in the future, there may be other options: the introduction of a funded pension system, the possible revision of the retirement age and the introduction of the third level of the funded system, i.e. private pension funds.

Generally, when we talk about the right to an early retirement for teachers, doctors, and others, the law stipulates in general that such pensions shall be paid from the corporate pension fund. Today, they are paid from the State Pension Fund. It is therefore necessary to organize a corporate fund, to which they will pay a little more money out of their own salaries, but then they will also have the right to retire early.

Which of these proposals have been agreed with the IMF, which ones will be included in the memorandum?

We have agreed with the IMF that we will shape our vision before autumn and write draft legislative changes. We also want to invite experts from the International Labour Organization (ILO), and then approach the IMF with a package of bills and the ILO assessment report.

If it is to happen before the autumn, does this mean that the memorandum will not be signed before this period?

The memorandum will be signed even without this. We just agreed to carry out this work before autumn. They agreed to that because we're not able to work everything out within a month.

That is, we can get the tranche without this, right? Does it mean we have to show specific projects of changes before the next tranche?

That’s right. You see, there is a problem of trust. They’ve been cheated so many times that they could come to us and show our obligations, saying "Please, fulfill them, and then we’ll be talking about other tranches." Our latest talks with them were very tough, they lasted for three hours. At the end, they said, "Are you out of your mind? You just reduced the SSC from 38% to 22%. Didn’t you understand what would happen next?"

They say that the effects of de-shadowing through reducing the SSC will become visible no earlier than the end of this year...

I would be very happy to be wrong. If we see revenue growth in the third or fourth quarter, I will publicly to out and say Thank you.

Are you that confident that we will not get a positive result from the reduction of SSC by year-end?

I don’t want to be accused of incompetence. But I hardly believe in miracles. I see no preconditions for such a breakthrough. A breakthrough can be achieved with unconventional means. However, I don’t believe that everyone will suddenly become ashamed and start paying the reduced SSC.

Do you believe that the memorandum with the IMF will be signed without an agreed specific action plan?

They are experienced people. The IMF officials have heard us. They were interested in our vision and the way we are engaged. So far we have had only words to present. It was hard to convince them, because they had already been cheated before. But I showed them our proposals, and they liked them. Similarly, they have been negotiating with the finance minister, the prime minister, the president, the head of the National Bank, and the anti-corruption officials.The IMF delegation left and gave a positive signal. Now they will come in September and they’ll tell us to show results. And we must show them that we had submitted our legislative proposals to the Rada and that we would work with the deputies to convince them to adopt the package.

But see what happens? When certain people realized that we were working, they started  calling for the government’s resignations and immediate re-election. Why is it so? Why hadn’t they cried about re-elections under the previous government? The situation was heading toward re-elections anyway...

It started now, because politicians see that there is some movement going on, and so the situation will change. What do they do? They resist immediately. Because then, when people see the results, it will be harder to exploit the situation. So now they try to rock the situation, despite the fact that today is the end of June. Who would go on strike in July when all state employees, who are a powerful force of these movements, are on vacations? But they do understand that there is no time, so they act now.

When does the Cabinet plan to submit to the parliament the relevant bills?

We have prepared a budget resolution, for the first time in many years, and the budget bill will be submitted by September 15. These bills should come in the budget package. We will not wait for “Christmas trees.”

But will you agree them with the IMF before that time?

We will first submit them, and then we will be agreeing them.

But can it happen as it did with bill No.4608 on the funded pension system, to which there were objections after the submission?

Bill No.4608 had not been coordinated with anyone before submission to the Rada. We have relaunched the bills introduced by the previous government so as not to lose them. But I'll tell you frankly, I don’t think it will pass, because this is a serious matter that requires consensus of the parliament, the government, the president, and the public. It can’t be just dragged through parliament.

Is there no consensus on this bill even within the government?

I believe we don’t have a unified position on it. Moreover, when I spoke with the IMF officials, they also warned against the introduction of a funded pension system. Their arguments are identical to ours. They are now most concerned about the Pension Fund deficit. They asked how we plan to solve this problem if we also take away resources for the funded system, which could be otherwise allocated for overcoming the deficit.

You recently spoke with the World Bank officials. What do they think about it?

They have a slightly different position. The World Bank does not cure the budget deficit, nor does it increase the country’s reserves. It gives loans for the infrastructure and promising projects. But the problem is not about the World Bank, it’s about our people. I won’t name the region, but, for example, there was a project of the overhaul of 40 facilities of primary healthcare centers. Is this some breakthrough project? Vinnytsia region was the only one to offer to build a cardio center. We’ve been in negotiations for three years, and now we have a project worth $32 million.

The World Bank 10 years ago offered $300 million for a project to reform the social protection system. Today some of these funds have been disbursed, but the system has not been created. At the moment my job is to make sure the money actually goes for the infrastructure of the social protection system, and we have actually created it.

The World Bank says: "We are ready to help you, just draft a project." They are ready to allocate $3 bln for Ukraine, but there is no single project. If we have previously taken 30% of the allocated funds, now it’s only 10%. And there is no activity on our side, and that’s a shame. We will neve live a normal life  if we don’t attract investment. If there is money provided by the World Bank and we don’t take it, then what are we talking about? How can we attract private investors then?

And who is to engage in such projects on our part? The local authorities?

Of course, but some competent people should come, the ones who could negotiate with the World Bank, who could develop projects and organize all the work.

But if the disbursement fell from 30% to 10%, it turns out that the level of competence dropped…

That’s right. We just had the elections, the authorities changed. The authorities became more revolutionary, pro-European, but there is still no result. This way we discredit great ideas, because we have such feature as professionalism ranking the last when it comes to electing someone. It seems that people prefer the candidate be as revolutionary-minded as possible.

Dmytro Sydorenko

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