Ukraine should think of IMF debt restructuring from the perspective of 'can we do this,' - Parliamentary Speaker

Author : 112.UA 112.UA

Respondent : Dmytro Razumkov

Source : 112 Ukraine

Dmytro Razumkov on Covid-19, Ukraine-IMF cooperation, MPs' salaries, and local elections
13:00, 30 June 2020

Open source

We are glad to see you in our studio today. Mr. Speaker, some MPs say they need to pay more for such hard, tireless work. For example, the leader of the Holos faction, Kira Rudyk, says that she does not get enough money and would initiate a raise of MP’s salary.

Well, she has a right to it. I believe that there should be a decent remuneration, but for everyone. It seems that taking into consideration the level of the salary in the state, the level of the minimum salary that our fellow citizens have today, it is too early to talk about raising the salary for the MPs. This should be connected with the growth of the economy, with the growth of the well-being of citizens, the development of the state, with the growth of GDP. Today, talking exclusively about yourself is not quite right from an economic, political, moral point of view. Our salaries are already tied to some indicators. Everyone understood what they were going for. Salaries did not decrease - they even rose slightly. My salary for the year increased by 3,000 hryvnias (110 USD). However, today it is wrong and untimely to raise the question of some significant increase in salaries.

Related: Referendum on land sale market can take place before 2024, - Razumkov

Prime Minister Shmygal talks about the second wave of coronavirus, the extension of the adaptive quarantine, and he hinted that there is a possibility of postponing local elections in connection with the coronavirus. Are you considering such an opportunity?

Local elections are provided for by the Constitution, and now it is rather difficult to postpone these dates. I don’t see legal mechanisms and reasons why this should be done. Let's hope that we will not follow the negative scenario - everything will be fine with us, and we will be able to calmly hold elections this fall. At least today everyone should prepare for this: both the government and the parliament.

We should ask you about the fate of the government, given that parliament did not approve the government’s program of action last week.

The first program, which was directed by the government ... We must pay tribute to the conditions in which it was written. When this government began to work, it did not have time to write a program. All questions were related to the fight against coronavirus. The program was not supported – 13 committees expressed their position to send it for revision. And it was done. The second program was more detailed, it was better prepared, however, only 207 MPs cast their votes for finalizing the government’s action program. It was also not approved by some committees. If we talk about the future of the government, then it can easily work. Let's be realistic: today, under the conditions of Covid-19, writing a long-term program and approving it, understanding what will actually happen in six months, is very optimistic or illogical. It will also be necessary to adjust economic and social policies based on the conditions in which we are and will be today. The state is only now beginning to implement adaptive quarantine. Therefore, it will also affect various areas of our lives. Therefore, to approve the program in order to simply approve it? I think this was to a certain extent the understandable position of the MPs. That is why the program was not supported. Since it is impossible to direct the program for revision more than once, it was rejected. However, this does not mean that the government should resign - it continues to work. There have been such examples in the history of Ukraine. And to be absolutely correct, I don’t remember any cases in the history of our state when the government’s program of action was fully implemented or even by the half. Therefore, you can continue to work, and this does not require immunity for a year. MPs withdrew their immunity at the beginning of the cadet of the 9th convocation, and I’m sure that in our country you can do without immunity.

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What do you associate vacant offices within the Cabinet of Ministers with?

A person should meet all the criteria and challenges. If we are talking about the Minister of Energy, now Ms. Buslavets is acting as Minister, and in my opinion, she is not bad enough. There are issues that divide society today - this is a matter of nuclear and green energy, and this does not depend on it, but in general on the position of the government. And if we are talking about other areas of the ministry's work, then it works. If we talk about the Ministry of Education, then there is also an acting one (Liubomyra Mandziy, - ed.), and she is also preparing for all the challenges that will soon appear before the ministry and the whole education system.

Given the rising Covid-19 incidence, what our government officials reporting on? Do the MPs understand how to help doctors and the healthcare system?

I hope that the Cabinet of Ministers independently understands what it should do. If not, the parliament is always ready to help. This happened during the changes in the budget at the beginning of the pandemic in our state. The first changes were not supported by the audience, and after the MPs joined the process, such changes were adopted. Parliament has developed a number of laws that are already working today, in two sectors. The first is the fight against coronavirus, help to doctors, and all the necessary social things that are associated with this, including law enforcement. The second direction is that which helps to get through the quarantine mode at the lowest cost. The MPs here worked in good faith - without political slogans and flags. Sometimes the working groups worked until 5 am. However, after that, we saw the result when the scoreboard was 340-350 votes. Therefore, the parliament worked, works, and will work in the interests of citizens, performing its functions within its powers.

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How can you assess the flood situation in Western Ukraine and the reaction of the authorities?

MPs today work in these territories. I had the opportunity to chat with colleagues located in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. They say that the situation is very dangerous, as of now the water level has risen to 5.25 meters. It is expected that it can rise one more meter. When there were floods in 2008, if I am not mistaken, the water level was 6 meters. That is, today there is a big threat with which it will be necessary to deal quickly. First, create the conditions so that the consequences are as small as possible. The MPs are working in their constituencies.

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Now let us speak about the tragedy that occurred in Kyiv last weekend – a gas explosion in a residential building. 5 people died. Should the parliament, in general, intervene directly in this case, and what should the state do to solve the problems of old houses at the system level?

I would like to thank the rescuers, doctors, law enforcement officers - they worked quickly, as much as possible. If we are talking about MPs from Kyiv, it is very important that they join this process, so that they take this process under control. Is it worth it to participate on the part of the parliament? I’m not sure, because it was quite difficult to help in those conditions. If any questions depend on us, then I am sure that the deputies will be ready to work in this direction. I voice my condolences to the families of the victims. I hope that those responsible are found. Unfortunately, information about the gas explosion is confirmed. After the inspection, specialists will have to make an appropriate decision.

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We join in our condolences. Tell me, are there problems with the mono-majority of the ruling faction?

The mono-majority is a set of people, each of whom has his own position, his own understanding of the situation – Ukraine has never had such a large fraction before. Previously, it was easier to persuade to support one initiative or another. If we talk about the mono-majority, then today the issue of problems or their absence is not worth it. For example, a vote for the Minister of Ecology: 227 votes were cast by MPs who are part of the mono-majority. Stefanchuk (Razumkov’s deputy, - ed.) and I also voted for this decision. There is a mono-majority. The fact that it does not always find consensus on certain issues is normal. You had a lot more questions about why they vote without delving into certain ideas or bills. Therefore, I think this is an adequate and state position of my colleagues.

Is it possible to implement Ukraine-IMF memorandum? As far as I remember, not a single memorandum with the IMF has yet been fully implemented.

I am not part of the negotiation group or the negotiation process on this memorandum. I think that a number of positions can be fulfilled, and for some others, there will probably be a discussion. A memorandum is a top-level plan that will be laid directly on these positions.

And what did you personally pay attention to in this memorandum?

I think that all questions in one way or another relate to our existence. In each of the aspects, a meaningful discussion can be held on what to agree here.

Related: Ukraine sells 18 tons of medical masks to Russia during Covid-19 pandemic, - ex-MP

Experts and politicians often raise the issue of debt restructuring. Do we have a chance to negotiate with creditors?

Today, there is a rather non-standard and unique crisis in the world - this has not happened before since a pandemic has spread all over the world. Debt restructuring should be approached from the perspective of "can we do this." If we have such an opportunity, if our creditors are ready for this, I think it would be nice to hold such negotiations.

Before you came to the Verkhovna Rada, you have been involved in the field of political technology. Elections are an area that you understand like no one else. Will the election legislation change again?

I think that these will be clarifications, not related to the parliament, but to the CEC. Or there might be a joint clarification of the Ministry of Health and the CEC. Today, we are considering a bill 34-85. These comprehensive changes are a fairly large document. When it is adopted, we will be able to discuss it in detail.

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 Can the danger of coronavirus affect the election process?

At the weekend I took a walk and saw how our citizens adhere to the mask regime. For some reason, it seems to me that Ukrainians are not very scared. Although in fact, we need to be more serious about our health, the health of relatives and friends. I think that to some extent, these aspects, which were introduced in connection with the coronavirus, will affect, among other things, mass gatherings and many other things that are common attributes of any election campaign. In this case, they might be canceled.

How conscientious are MPs in observing all quarantine measures?

Unfortunately, not all MPs adhere to the mask regime, as well as our citizens do. I begin each meeting with a call to put on masks - however, this does not always work. Why do we see growth? I think this is a set of questions. Including because we began to be more frivolous about the mask regime and quarantine measures. We have increased the number of tests, and many other things that together can affect the statistics. But it seems to me that the situation is not critical. And we will do everything to stop growth.

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