Oleksandr Shlapak, first deputy head of President Victor Yushchenko’s secretariat, held a press briefing on Friday to comment on his boss’s plans to improve the performance of local governments, develop the national grain market and support business, according to the President`s press-office.

      Shlapak said, this week, Yushchenko and Ukrainian business leaders had discussed six “revolutionary” bills to improve the country’s business climate and reminded reporters the president had pledged to veto and suspend all laws and governmental acts contradicting his Concept to improve the state regulation of economic activity. He said Yushchenko also wanted to reestablish the Council of business leaders in the Ukrainian cabinet.

      Speaking about the development of the national grain market, Shlapak said the head of state found it necessary to formulate an agricultural strategy and lift the ban on the sale of farmland. He said Yushchenko believed government interference with grain prices was unacceptable.

      Shlapak said the president had proposed legal changes aimed at reforming the system of local governments and self-governments in Ukraine during Wednesday’s meeting with the heads of local governments. “The secretariat categorically demands that a local administration head must be apolitical. This must be a professional state official,” he said.