President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that, despite the obvious achievements, Oleksiy Honcharuk's government had done too little, hence one should not be afraid to tell the truth and acknowledge mistakes.
“This government (Oleksiy Honcharuk’s - ed.) has accomplishments. The decrease in inflation, reduction of the NBU base rate, fight against the shadow markets, including gambling and illegal gas stations. The beginning of the privatization of state-owned enterprises that have been looted all these years. The loans to SMEs. The reduction of the role of the state in the economy. But the truth is that it is not enough for Ukrainians today,” the Head of State noted during a speech at an extraordinary plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
According to the President, there was no top corruption in Oleksiy Honcharuk’s government, but no stealing is not enough.
“This government knows what to do, but knowing is not enough. It is necessary to work a lot, it is necessary to do. And we must not fear the truth, we must admit mistakes. Because on the day we dive into the warm bath of illusions, the whole country will sink,” the President said.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in two months of 2020, non-compliance of the state budget was nearly 16 billion hryvnias. 13 of them are a failure in customs revenue. In addition, businesses continue complaining about smuggling.
The Head of State also drew attention to the fall of industry, which has lasted for the fourth consecutive month. According to him, the government has not provided tools stimulating domestic production and new production capacity.
“The industrial glory of Ukraine is gradually becoming a flashback. We risk that speaking about our industrial potential people will soon say: "That was a long time ago, and that was not true," the President noted.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also noted that the measures taken by the government had reduced the gas price for the population by 35% as compared to the last year, and it was the lowest price in the last four years. However, people became confused by the chaos with payments in January and February.
“The government, I think, has, in fact, failed the most important thing - the information campaign and communication, the work with local authorities so that people in all regions can feel a reduction in the heating bill,” he emphasized.
The President also touched upon the issue of salaries and bonuses of many supervisory board members of state-owned enterprises. “When over ten million people live on the poverty line, there can be no such payments to people who, being members of supervisory boards, arrive in Ukraine two or three times a year. Today, it has actually become more profitable to “supervise” than to work in Ukraine,” he said.
The Head of State also noted that Ukrainian citizens in the supervisory boards of Ukrainian enterprises already felt like a national minority.
The President also focused on the problems in the coal industry, particularly miners’ wage arrears and the sale of Ukrainian coal. He stressed that only after his repeated intervention, miners would be paid UAH 650 million debt this week.
“Once again I emphasize that closing a mine does not mean closing the issue. Therefore, first - training and retraining of people, creating new jobs, providing at least a similar salary, and only then can we raise the issue of closing an unprofitable mine. Only in such order,” the Head of State said.
Another pressing issue, according to the President of Ukraine, was the lack of a pension increase program. “A big number of retirees receive less than two thousand hryvnias. The indexation of pensions has not been carried out. The program of increasing pensions for people who are 80 years old has not yet been implemented. And we struggle so much for it and talk about it so much. The Pension Fund remains a huge inefficient machine that consumes UAH 5 billion only for its functioning,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.
In the health sector, the President called for the recognition that many were not ready for the second phase of medical reform to be held on April 1.
“Almost every day we have protests in various medical institutions. People are afraid of closing hospitals, doctors are afraid of dismissals, local authorities are sometimes not ready to assume responsibility, there is not enough funding and so on. There are big questions about tariffs, medical equipment and a very big question about staffing. So, the main question is: why are we in a hurry? Doesn’t it seem to us that with such an approach, the reform flies into the wall?” the Head of State emphasized.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy recalled that he had run for President having no political experience, but with faith and the will to implement the changes required. He stated that there were mistakes, but he was ready to acknowledge and correct them.
The President thanked the international partners of Ukraine for their support and assured of the unwavering course of the state.
“Our course remains the same. And for us the priorities are unchanged. And we all want and do everything every day to end the war in Donbas and return all our territories. Because this is our country. We will continue to follow the path of reforms in all spheres. The course of Ukraine is not a mistake. But some mistakes were made while following this course,” the Head of State noted.
He noted that he was not ashamed of Oleksiy Honcharuk’s government. But he would like to be proud of the government. That is why the current government should resign.