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Ukraine's new PM: No time for asking 'Who is to blame?'

Author : Denys Shmygal

Source : 112 Ukraine

March 4, parliament supported the resignation of Oleksiy Honcharuk along with his Cabinet and appointed Prime Minister Denys Shmygal. He gave a speech from the parliamentary rostroom
11:00, 5 March 2020

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After watching yesterday’s news, most of my entourage asked: “Why do you need this?” and “Should we congratulate you or sympathize with you?” Indeed, today the office of Prime Minister of Ukraine is not just an honor, it is a huge responsibility. And the fate of the Ukrainian state, its citizens is actually in the hands of the parliament, the government, and we bear enormous responsibility for this. There are various reasons why I am at this rostrum today.

This is an economic decline, risks of a budget crisis, state of the industry, healthcare, social protection of the population. The issue of energy security of the country, utility bills and, most importantly, what the president always focuses on is the level of well-being of Ukrainian citizens. These are simple things, for which you do not need to be a Ph.D. in economics, this is a usual legal desire, the human desire of Ukrainians to live prosperously and dignified. You can list the reasons for the fall for a long time, look for the extreme ones, but today we just don’t have time to answer the question “Who is to blame?”, We must answer the question “What should we do?”

There are a number of challenges that need to be addressed immediately. We should prevent the economic and budget crisis. I believe that we should revise the budget for 2020, especially in terms of increasing payments and pensions for ordinary Ukrainians. There are expenses that should be reduced, this also applies to the salaries and bonuses of officials, including ministers of the new government, members of a number of supervisory boards and other officials.

Another urgent issue is the repayment of debt to Ukrainian miners. We do not have the right to forgetting about people, who risk their lives daily, and we will not allow the destruction of the coal industry.

Related: New Prime Minister of Ukraine: Who is Denys Shmygal?

A serious challenge is the threat of coronavirus. The first case has already been recorded in Ukraine. I believe that here the government should work in two directions. The first is medical support for the detection and treatment of the virus, much has already been done for this. Each region has medical facilities that are ready to receive potential patients, family, and other doctors are informed. The country has 12,000 beds in infectious diseases hospitals, about 2,500 infectious boxes. But this is not enough, there should be a comprehensive program for the spread of the virus, and it will be the first brick in building a single effective system for protecting the population from biological, climatic, and technological threats. Second. This is an increase in the level of informing Ukrainians, and not only about what to do in case of suspicion of a disease, but also what the state is doing for the health and safety of its citizens. Ukrainians must see and understand that the state protects them.

Among other things, what the government urgently needs to do is strengthen the economic bloc. This has been repeatedly mentioned in recent days and on this rostrum today. It should ensure not only the growth of industry and the agricultural sector, which is important but also the sensation of this growth by every Ukrainian. So far, we have seen only the strengthening of the hryvnia, which, unfortunately, hit the export, but did not affect the welfare of ordinary Ukrainians. We heard about the reform of tax customs but did not see this in budget revenues, and the president spoke about this today.

Related: Zelensky is not ashamed of Honcharuk’s government

At the same time, we will maintain and develop those reforms and projects that have already been launched. This is a decentralization reform, which I have been working on as vice-prime minister for the past weeks, and as the head of the regional administration in Ivano-Frankivsk, I have been engaged for the past more than six months. It's about the Big Construction program, which should push the economy off the ground, warmed it up and give an impetus to overcome the economic crisis, preventing a budget crisis. These are affordable loans for small and medium-sized businesses, mortgages for the population, digitalization of government processes.

Also, the duty of the Cabinet of Ministers in the near future is to present the country with a strategy and prospects for economic development for the coming years. As a vice-prime minister, I have initiated a big discussion on further decentralization, as the Prime Minister, I will propose starting a big discussion on the place of Ukraine on the economic map of the world and ways to achieve a certain goal. Our priorities remain the same, as of August 29 of 2019, voiced by the president during the appointment of the previous government, but they were not completed. This is the continuation of decentralization, creation of a favorable investment climate, the achievement of energy efficiency, development of industry, agricultural sector and infrastructure, improvement of the quality of medicine and education, and most importantly - strengthening of national security and defense, the end of Donbas war, and return of annexed Crimea. All these tasks will be solved by the new government.

Related: Government of Denys Shmygal takes oath

If it is unable to fulfill it, it means that there won’t be this government, it is obvious, and today we have witnessed it. We understand this very well, none of us has come here for decades, and everyone is well aware of the responsibility. The expectations of citizens are enormous, patience ends, reforms had to be fulfilled yesterday, and the result is needed today. I hope for fruitful cooperation with the MPs, with you, dear people's representatives, only together can we solve all these problems. Thank you for your attention, I would like to thank the president, the parliament, and the Ukrainian people for trusting.

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