Ukraine`s President Viktor Yushchenko has cancelled a government order to privatise the Odessa Pre-Port chemical plant, which had a starting price of almost $600 million, a presidential decree published on Tuesday showed, Reuters reports.

The decree said the chemical plant has a strategic importance to the country`s economy and was not suitable for privatisation.

Last year, the previous government tried to sell the plant but was stopped by Yushchenko who then said that any buyer of the chemical producer would gain a monopoly and raise the export prices of various commodities.

Last week Yushchenko cancelled the privatisation of four electricity firms, calling a government order to sell these unconstitutional.

The government aims to raise $1.7 billion in privatisation revenues this year. But it is not uncommon for sell-offs to be cancelled, suspended or contested in court.

Last year, the government reaped just $485 million in privatisation funds against a target of $2.1 billion.