President Petro Poroshenko is confident that Ukraine demonstrates a positive development in all directions of reforms: increase of minimum salary and its influence on business and budget, restoration of bank crediting, decentralization, development of road infrastructure, healthcare reform and changes in secondary education.
“Development”. This word in the name of our discussion platform is the key topic of today’s meeting. It logically combines all items of the agenda of our today’s meeting,” the Head of State noted at the fifth session of the Regional Development Council.
According to him, one and a half year ago, the situation in the country left no chances to think about the prospects of development. “Today, there are grounds to say that real restoration of the economy has begun. And there is an opportunity to move from the tactics of survival to our common state strategy of development,” the President emphasized.
The Head of State noted that three years ago, default and total disaster seemed inevitable. “The economy was simultaneously hit by war, closure of the Russian market, decline in world prices for key products of Ukrainian exports. Unreformed economy and unbalanced financial system left no chances to withstand such a shock,” he said.
According to the President, all Ukrainian governments had no other choice than to resort to very tough, principled and unpopular steps. These measures were coordinated with international financial organizations that have been supporting Ukraine in this difficult time. These steps have been extremely hard for people, but it would have been much harder without them.
“However, these difficult decisions allowed to break the trend. Following 2016, GDP has increased by 2.2%. In the fourth quarter, the increase has been accelerated almost to 5% per year. It may not be as much as we wish, but in 2015, when the effect of Russian aggression has been fully felt, the economy fell by 10%,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
The President stressed: “Industry is being revived now - it demonstrates growth by 2.8% following 2016. I am sure that we will have the same positive prospects in 2017”. According to him, industry has been mostly affected by war, as up to 20% of the industrial potential has been lost. However, industrial growth stopped three years before the aggression, in 2011 already.
Petro Poroshenko is hopeful that inflation this year will be calculated in single digits - less than 10%. “It is our common task to reach the level of 5% of annual inflation by 2019,” he said and added that in 2015, it equalled 43%, but the authorities managed to curb it.
The President noted that foreign exchange reserves today equal 15.5 billion dollars compared with 5 billion in February 2015. He also emphasized that funds received from international financial organizations and 100% of funds from the IMF were allocated to the foreign exchange reserves to stabilize national currency and built trust in the Ukrainian state, Ukrainian economy, Ukrainian financial and banking system.
“Everyone heard how irresponsible state-mongers told that the money from the IMF has been stolen or misused. This is total and irresponsible lie. Every kopeck of the IMF is being carefully stored,” Petro Poroshenko assured.
The President also noted that hryvnia’s exchange rate "has been kept flexible but relatively unchanged” for the third year in a row despite forecasts that it will reach 35, 40 or 50 hryvnias.
Petro Poroshenko also added that a difficult and large-scale process of recovery of the banking system has almost been completed. The banking system was purified from over 80 dangerous banks. In the interests of tens of millions of customers, PrivatBank was nationalized and its stable functioning will be further ensured.
The President noted that the indicators of construction are also growing: “Over 17% for the past year. This means that this sphere will entail related ones. Investors already feel future demand for office and residential premises. Employment agencies report the expansion in the number of vacancies, wages are increasing as well. Positive expectations are themselves a material force that stimulates economic growth”.
“Yes, these trends haven’t caused euphoria. They are still unnoticed by the majority of Ukrainians. The results haven’t led to the increase of living standards. In this context, we are just starting to use every opportunity, such as the increase of minimum wage up to 3200 hryvnias, increase of salaries of doctors and teachers, increase of expenditures for the road construction and provision of financial opportunities for the development of local communities,” Petro Poroshenko said.