Victor Yushchenko has proposed changes to this year’s budget to raise the living wage and the minimum wage, according to the President`s press-office.

      “These changes will affect interests and welfare of thirteen million working citizens, particularly old-age pensioners,” he said.

      The President said his bill was designed to raise the minimum wage from UAH 400 to UAH 420 on May 1 and to UAH 430 on September 1, as well as to increase the living wage to UAH 404 on April 1 and to UAH 409 on October 1.

      He said the Verkhovna Rada had adopted a resolution last December to “oblige the government” to raise the minimum wage and the living wage after the first quarter of the year.

      “The government is confident in the irreversibility of economic growth,” he said, citing recent statistical data. “The government and some political forces publicly announced they had achieved results. These declarations are important to me not as bravura reports for self-satisfaction but as possibilities created over the past couple of years which can be transformed in revenues to help the least protected social groups.”

      Mr. Yushchenko said the passage of the bill would be a “real response to utility price hikes and the more expensive consumer basket.”

      “The President hopes the ruling coalition and the government, which say they care for the people, will prove their sincerity.”

      He added that the bill was based on calculations by experts and said he would demand that parliament consider it without delay.