On February 17, Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko took part in a panel discussion with government ministers during the 11th annual ‘Dragon Capital’ investment conference in Kyiv.
The Minister thanked the organizers for the invitation and the participants for their support of Ukraine during this difficult time for the country. She spoke about important decisions for the Ukrainian economy."From my perspective, the importance of the agreement with the IMF is that it is a longer term program and a recognition of the Ukrainian government and challenges that we have. The agreement gives us access to deeper resources of 17.5 Billion USD over 4 years. As a percentage of our GDP it is one of the largest IMF programs in history. It gives us credibility and confidence in the current budget, that we are adopting, " stated Jaresko.
The Minister of Finance expressed the hope that all "beacons" required for signing the agreements by the IMF Board of Directors will be implemented by Ukraine , and the first tranche will be allocated. First, the Ukrainian Parliament must accept the changes to the budget for 2015, which were submitted by the Government. Natalia Jaresko also shared her plans regarding consultation with Ukraine’s external creditors. According to the Minister, is to be held in the first week of March.
"I am confident that our creditors understand the situation and are interested in finding a solution that would satisfy Ukraine and partners" -Natalie Jaresko, Ukrainian Minister of Finance
Natalia Jaresko described the draft changes to the state budget that had already been submitted to the Parliament. The Minister of Finance explained that is important to balance the increase in subsidies and additional revenues. Thus, a proposal to increase royalties for gas and oil producing state companies and to reduce subsidies to "Naftogaz" has been brought to the table, along with theintroduction of pension reform.
"We started the process to reduce the pension fund deficit. Thus, pensions will be reduced for working pensioners,a fair system will be introduced for the special pensions, which now require more experience. Therefore, we have implemented savings to the budget, which include pension reform," explained Jaresko.
Natalia Jaresko noted that the support provided by international organizations, particularly by the IMF, is enough to restore confidence in Ukraine.
"I hope that we will be able to restore reserves and restore a system where people trust banks, but efforts are also needed to combat corruption so that people trust the authorities,” conluded the Minister.