Ukraine will use vaccines with an efficiency of more than 70%, – the Prime Minister
On February 4, Denys Shmyhal, Prime Minister of Ukraine, met with the business community during the EBA Global Outlook 2021: the Year of Big Questions. The discussion was dedicated to pressing issues for business and society such as vaccination, quarantine restrictions, and combating the spread of COVID-19.
Although last year appeared to be extraordinary, Mr. Shmyhal expressed hope that 2021 will be more favorable and assured that Ukraine enters the new year with a much better prepared medical system and prerequisites for economic growth. However, we are still fighting the coronavirus, so the national quarantine will be extended at least until April 30. However, the Prime Minister does not rule out the possibility of extending quarantine restrictions even after April in case there are no radical positive changes in the fight against the spread of the disease.
Thus, the COVID-19 vaccination of Ukrainians will be launched in February starting with the most vulnerable categories of the population, including health care workers who interact directly with patients with coronavirus. Mr. Schmyhal said that the state is able to vaccinate everyone in priority order, but those who want to be vaccinated earlier, obviously, can do it at their own expense in private clinics. It will be recalled that the Cabinet of Ministers recently published a nationwide vaccination plan, which can be found on the Government portal.
According to the Prime Minister, Ukraine will use only vaccines that have shown at least 70% effectiveness. Currently, 6 vaccine manufacturers can meet such requirements, but within the year there may be more of them. The government also plans to carry out an awareness campaign to ensure the public about the necessity of immunization. Thus, 2021 should become the year when Ukraine overcomes the coronavirus.
This year is also promising in terms of economic growth opportunities, according to both the Government and Ukraine’s international partners. The Cabinet of Ministers expects GDP growth of 4.6% and an estimated inflation rate of 6%, which should warm the economy. The Prime Minister assured that work is still going on the implementation of both declared reforms and the new ones. Currently, preparations are carried out to form conditions for the creation and effective functioning of the stock market in Ukraine. Also, it is planned to roll out the pension reform based on the saving model without which a breakthrough in the pension system cannot be achieved. Besides, the Government is developing an important document with the participation of a wide range of participants, including the EBA, namely the National Economic Strategy 2030, so that it will be a relevant, viable guide to the country’s development for the next 10 years.
Access to cheap credit resources and affordable mortgages are other tools of accelerated economic growth declared by the Government. Besides, the Government is planning some regulatory easing. Thus, the development of Diia.City is in its final stages. According to the Prime Minister, this will be a breakthrough economic tool for business, although the EBA has some comments, to which we drew the Prime Minister’s attention.
Another important issue that came to the forefront of business concerns in 2020 was the reform of the justice system in Ukraine. A fair trial is an important tool for attracting investment and developing the business and the national economy, as well as a topic of conversation with all international partners. The Prime Minister assured us that we are moving in the direction of reforming the judiciary. Thus, a number of draft laws and anti-corruption laws are currently being drafted, which are an integral part of reforming and reviving a fair judiciary.
In the end, we had time to discuss with Mr. Shmyhal the state of affairs in specific economic areas. In particular, the Prime Minister commented on sensitive issues in the energy sector, namely the Government’s commitments to investors in the green energy sector and the situation in the gas market. Mr. Shmyhal reaffirmed that the terms of the Memorandum with RES investors will be met, as the Government appreciates investors’ trust and opinion on the country. The gas market will continue its transformational processes when the Government limits its regulation on the energy sector but with the consideration of the social aspect.
It is necessary to change the situation in the context of interactions between law enforcement agencies and business as the Bureau of Economic Security – a new body for combating economic crimes was recently created, and there are also certain reservations to it. However, the Prime Minister’s promises that other law enforcement agencies will give up their functions of economic control so they will be concentrated in a single body – the BES. Another important issue is fiscalization, which is fully supported by transparent business and which can help in the fight against smuggling. In this context, software payment transaction registers can remove all the current concerns of entrepreneurs about the use of cash registers, as businesses do not have to spend on their acquisition and incur any additional costs. They also talked about the fast-growing segment of e-commerce, which needs effective and fair regulation, and business is ready to make proposals in this direction.
They also raised topical issues related to the work of customs and logistics. The Prime Minister assured that further reform and modernization of the work of customs authorities will continue, a risk-oriented system and maximum automation of processes will be introduced, and a new culture of work of the service will be formed. The modernization of transport infrastructure is also a priority – the construction of roads, bridges, and checkpoints will continue. Particular attention is paid to the aviation industry affected by the pandemic. Although the possibility of direct support for the air transport industry in the budget for this year is unforeseen, the Government is actively discussing with carriers about the methods of indirect support.
Surely, we did not manage to discuss all business issues with the Prime Minister, so we will look forward to the next meeting. The EBA is sincerely grateful to Mr. Shmyhal for his time!
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