Natalie Jaresko, the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, presided over the meeting of the Council of the Finance Ministry of Ukraine on July 27 which was joined by the Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Also among the participants of the meeting were the deputies of the Minister of Finance, heads of the Ministry’s departments, senior executives of the State Fiscal Service and the State Service for Financial Monitoring as well as people’s deputies of Ukraine, representatives of NGOs, and media.
During the meeting, the Minister of Finance reported on the progress of her Ministry in 2015 on the implementation of the Working Programme of the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine, the Coalition Agreement and the Strategy for sustainable development “Ukraine - 2020”.Minister Jaresko also presented the results of the Ministry for the first 7 months of 2015 and outlined further working priorities.
“When the current government was formed more than half a year ago, the Ukrainian economy was in a critical condition which required “intensive care”, to put it in medical terms. That meant tremendous challenges and tasks for the Ministry of Finance which were the recovery of the public financial system and stabilization of the budgetary and banking system of Ukraine. We coped with these tasks: in the first half of the year we managed to keep the stable and steady functioning of the budgetary and financial system of Ukraine”, Natalie Jaresko said in the beginning of her speech.
The main point of the meeting’s agenda referred to the key reforms to be implemented by the Ministry of Finance. The participants of the meeting discussed the current results of budgetary decentralization, institutional reform of the State Fiscal Service, development strategy for state-held banks, reform of the financing for public management and upgrading the efficiency of the Finance Ministry, as well as the development and progress of tax reform in Ukraine.
The Minister of Finance pointed out that the adoption of the state budget for 2015 and the Government Programme for economic reform had paved the way to a new loan agreement with the IMF amounting USD 17.5 bn and led to support from other international partners amounting to more than USD 7.5 bn at the beginning of this year. The Ministry of Finance fulfilled all obligations set as agreed with the IMF and thus made it possible for Ukraine to receive the first tranche of USD 5 bn in March 2015. It also agreed to the previous and structural indicators necessary to receive the second tranche of USD 1.7 bn.
“One of the important achievements of the Ministry in this half of the year is that we managed to balance the state finances and to cut the real budget deficit to the sum which is to be covered from sources other than emission. To do that, a realistic budget for 2015 and amendments to this budget were adopted which enabled us to increase the defense budget as well as to scale up social protection for the most affected groups of citizens by providing direct subsidies to them mitigating the increased tariffs for gas and heating. At the same time, the monetary pressure on the economy was lowered due to the reduced deficit of Naftogaz and the Pension Fund”, the Minister of Finance emphasized.
According to Minister Jaresko, the fiscal decentralization pushed by the Ministry resulted in the increase of the revenue basis of the local budgets by 37.7% compared to the previous year. At the same time, the powers of the municipal self-government bodies were expanded.