Ukraine's readiness for the heating season of 2021-2022 was considered at a meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities with the participation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is on a working trip to the Odesa region.
The Head of State stressed the importance of keeping gas tariffs for people at last year's level, on which a memorandum was signed between the government, Naftogaz of Ukraine and local authorities.
"I really hope that some local leaders have understood the main essence of this important memorandum: keeping tariffs at last year's level. We agreed on this. This is where the state invests in people today, helps local authorities," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak assured that Ukraine has enough natural gas reserves to pass the cold season.
He stressed the importance of adhering to the signed memorandum, noting that the heads of some cities act contrary to this document.
"We live in one country and have to act exclusively as a team. Therefore, there can be no speculation on this topic, we must be in the same information field. And especially in the context of the gas crisis in Europe, which is directly related to what we warned our international partners about - that Russia will use gas as a weapon," said Andriy Yermak.
He asked local government officials to contact the President's Office if there are any problems with the implementation of the memorandum.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who took part in the work of the Congress via video call, noted that Ukraine is generally ready for the heating season.
"We have more than 18.5 billion cubic meters of gas in storage, which is absolutely enough for a normal heating season," he said.
The Prime Minister noted that on the initiative of the President, the necessary measures set out in the memorandum have been taken to stabilize gas tariffs. Also, in accordance with the decision of the National Security and Defense Council, the government decided to ban the disconnection from the gas supply of budgetary organizations and private houses.
"Gas will be supplied, there can be no interruptions in the supply of gas and heat," said Denys Shmyhal and assured that the government fulfills all the conditions set out in the memorandum.
Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe Andreas Kiefer, who also took part in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities via video call, stressed the importance of overcoming social and economic challenges.
"Consultations are important for decentralization to be successful and for local government bodies to work well. Such consultations are the foundation of sustainable development, responsibility and success, they also guarantee us that reforms are sustainable,” he said.
Andreas Kiefer thanked the Ukrainian delegation for the activity of the Ukrainian delegation in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
In addition, members of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President heard the report of Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, who spoke about the development of ports and port infrastructure within the Large Construction program.
According to the Minister, in December this year, the ports of Kherson and Olvia will be finally transferred to concession. Preparation of documentation for the concession of Chornomorsk, Berdyansk and Izmail ports and the passenger complex of the port of Odesa is underway. Concession tenders for them are expected in the first half of 2022.
Preparations for the privatization of the Mykolaiv Sea Commercial Port and the Odesa Sea Commercial Port are also underway.
In addition, according to the Minister, three more ports have been transferred to the State Property Fund, and one of them - the Ust-Dunaisk Sea Commercial Port - may be privatized by the end of this year.
"We are leaving the Pivdennyi Port in state ownership, we are developing it. It was unprofitable in the first quarter of this year, and now it is super profitable and has more than a billion hryvnias on its account. And we are already starting the development of two important areas - a new export cargo terminal and the construction of a car tippler complex, which will increase the capacity of this port," said Oleksandr Kubrakov.
In response, the President noted that developing the direction of port infrastructure is very important for Ukraine.
He also congratulated the Administration of Seaports of Ukraine on the successful financial results of the Pivdennyi Port.
"Our state port Pivdennyi has moved from an annual loss to a profitable format. I am confident that the Ministry will develop other ports at the same pace and with the same powerful steps," Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the media after the congress.