Ukraine rules out increase in utility bills
Ukraine will keep utility prices stable in the near future as a requirement to resume borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, Vice Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul said Friday, according to Xinhua.
"The government will monitor each case of hike in prices paid by households and will respond accordingly. Utility prices should be stable," Vilkul said during a meeting with local infrastructure officials.
Increasing utility bills is one of the main obstacles delaying the IMF's 15-billion-U.S. dollar stand-by program to Ukraine.
Below-market utility rates for Ukraine's households contribute to losses at the state-owned gas company Naftogaz.
Naftogaz, which pays about 400 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian natural gas, last year reported an annual loss of 1.28 billion dollars.
Negotiations between Ukraine and the IMF on new funding have been ongoing since February 2011 when a previous 15-billion-dollar loan program was frozen.