10:19 Nov. 25, 2016
Ukraine's President attempts to lure investors
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine has demonstrated significant changes in the economy over the past two years and it is time to invest in Ukraine.
"It is very important to become united and develop Ukraine together. It's high time to invest in Ukraine," Poroshenko said at a business forum in Brussels on Thursday, November 24.
"I was elected president two and a half years ago. The entire Donbas region was occupied at that time, two and a half years ago… We had no army. As of today, some areas in Donbas have been liberated, and we've been building the armed forces in active cooperation with NATO and the EU," he said.
Two and a half years ago, inflation was 65% amid a 15% decline in GDP, the current inflation rate today is 8% amid 2% economic growth, he said.
"The deficit of the national budget was 14% – it does not exceed 3% of GDP now. And all this is amidst war when we spend 5% of GDP on defense. What would happen if the funds had been injected into the economy?" he wondered.
Ukraine has consistently been implementing a program of reforms approved by the International Monetary Fund and cleaning up its banking system, the president said. "Two years ago, the gold and forex reserves were estimated at USD 5 billion and default seemed to be imminent. Two years after, the reserves have grown to USD 16 billion, and there has been no default," he said.
"And all these changes have become possible only due to reforms," he added.
He also stressed that Ukraine is no longer dependent on Russian gas. "The gas has ceased to be an element of blackmailing, but at the same time, we remain a reliable operator of transit fuel shipments," he said.
In his words, not least important are the authorities' deregulation efforts. "Just imagine: 367 regulatory acts were cancelled at once during one government meeting alone. Some of them date back to the 20's of the 20th century," he boasted.
Brussels hosted the Ukraine-EU summit on November 24. A number of strategic agreements, including a 10-year memorandum of cooperation in the energy sector, were signed.
The EU is a major sales market of Ukrainian export-oriented goods. It accounts for 41% of Ukrainian total exports. An agreement on a free trade area between Ukraine and the EU became effective on January 1, 2016.