Ukraine's Minister of Economy resigns because of corruption and pressure

Author : Aivaras Abromavicius

Source : 112 Ukraine

My team and me do not want to be a cover for blatant corruption or controlled puppets - Aivaras Abromavicius
10:00, 4 February 2016


Today I decided to resign from the post of Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.

The reason is a blocking of the systemic and important reforms.

It is not just the lack of support or political will. This is active paralyzing of our reformist work: from unexpected removal of security forces from minister and his family to pressure and including unknown personalities into my team and to key positions in state enterprises.

I can consider such actions as a persistent attempt to establish control over cash flows, control of state-owned enterprises, especially "Naftogaz" and the defense industry. I refuse to work in such a system. Neither I, nor my team is not ready to serve as a cover for the renovation of the old schemes for the benefit of individual political and business players.

14 months ago, I came with many like-minded people in the government to make reforms. And Ukrainian people, Ukrainian business, civil society and the international community expected us to operate promptly. I appreciate the trust that the Ukrainian people gave me at the time when it was necessary to change the system, to get rid of corruption, perform systemic reforms - and all this against the backdrop of a very difficult economic situation.

When I made the decision to come to Ukraine’s government, I was convinced that the technocratic government would be created, and that ministers would be able to form their own team and receive absolute political support for reforms.

As a result, people of Western-style - young, with a foreign education, progressive thinking, principles and values, with a sincere desire to change the country came to work in the Ministry of Economy. We had to deal with deregulation, reform of state-owned enterprises, and reform of public procurement. We came here to create the conditions for economic growth, for the development of Ukrainian business and attracting foreign investors.

Related: Abromavicius resigns

With our team of the Ministry of Economy, with the help of our associates in government, in parliament, in business, in the international community, we have done a lot. We have fulfilled the main task - achieved macroeconomic stabilization and created opportunities for economic growth. We have launched the public procurement system, which is at the pilot stage, $ 19 mln were saved this year, and now we could save $ 190 bln annually. The reform of state-owned enterprises has blocked the activity of all the thieves by increasing transparency, governance standards and professional management. It has already borne its fruit: the losses of state enterprises decreased by $4 bln in comparison with 2014 year. Deregulation has been also launched. We made more than 100 regulatory barriers to business, established an expert resource BRDO. We have saved $ 93 mln by eliminating oligarchic discount of 15% on the sale of oil.  And other things, about which we have already mentioned.

The more radical steps we do, the more deeper are our reforms, the greater is our progress, the more pressure we face.

We have learned to cope with the resistance of the old system, but it turned out that some of the new "well-wishers" are just worse than the old ones.

My team and me do not want to be a cover for blatant corruption or controlled puppets, for those who wants in style of old-style government to establish control over public money. I do not want to go to Davos to meet with foreign investors and partners, and to tell them about our successes, while some individuals satisfy their interests behind my back.

These individuals have names. And one name I still want to be voiced. This is Ihor Kononenko. As a representative of a political force that pushed me to the post of minister, lately he has done a lot in order to block my work and the work of my team. People controlled by Kononenko and MPs from Bloc of Petro Poroshenko (BPP) have developed a decree on my resignation and submitted it through a fraction of "Vidrodzhennia" in the Verkhovna Rada. In just a few months, it has collected 18 votes.

During the year, Ihor Kononenko  has been actively lobbying his people to the position of general director of "Ukrtransammiak". Kononenko was directly interested in "Ukrtransammiak". Instead of firing Bondyk, member of former Party of regions, post, he proposed his own people lead the company. MP from BPP, which was directly controlled by Kononenko, pressed for the appointment in "Derzhzovnishform", powder metallurgy enterprises, the National Accreditation Agency of Ukraine.

The highlight of this personnel lawlessness and desire to completely subjugate the streams was the desire to have his "own" deputy minister in the Ministry of Economy, which would be responsible for "Naftogaz" and other state-owned enterprises. The applicant brought a complete package of documents for the appointment and said: "I want to be your deputy. I'm in the team of Kononenko, and my candidacy has been agreed at the top". After that, I received a call from the President’s Administration with strong recommendations to approve this man, and another one for the post of defense deputy. I replied: "I am not participating in crimes”. And then I asked me to be dismissed from the office. In the end, Kononenko said that he wanted to hear my report on the factions and consider my resignation. I decided to facilitate the task of Kononenko and his team, and presented the report on my resignation.

My team and me are ready to leave as soon as possible. In any case, we do not to delay the process by weeks or months. I ask the Parliament to vote for my resignation tomorrow.

I am sincerely grateful to my team in the Ministry of Economy, to all partners, international organizations, the business community and associates in the government and parliament. I would be happy to continue working on the reforms in the economy as a team with these people. But under these circumstances would be more honest to step aside and get down to business, where you can really see the results of your work.

I am a patriot of Ukraine. I live here together with my family. We managed to do a lot, but the point of no return has not been passed. The forces of evil want to rewind it back. We must get rid of the "watchers" who "milk" the Ukrainian economy. Such people should not be in Ukrainian politics and in public administration.

Related: Poroshenko on Abromavicius’ resignation: he should stay

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