Statement of Petro Poroshenko

Dear Ukrainians!

This is the moment when while facing the new challenges the Ukrainian nation should prove itself as united family where one for all and all for one. Only together we can overcome this disaster.  

The Ukrainian opposition, represented by the team of the “European Solidarity”, has backed the government, which has the greatest part of responsibility to fight сoronavirus. We initiated an extraordinary meeting of the Parliament (Verkhovna Rada). We supported the government’s initiatives against сoronavirus. The regional branches of the party have launched volunteering activities – they deliver food and medicines to elderly people who are at much greater risk if they leave home. My charity foundation has changed its priorities and is purchasing medical equipment, medicines and protective equipment.

I call on everyone to take care of your health and health of your relatives and friends, parents and children. 

I’m not a medic and not a faith healer. I have no miracle recipes. That is why I am not going to replacea Chief Public Health Officer. Moreover, frankly speaking, he is one of the few officials in this power team who can be regarded as professional.

Today doctors are our defenders like the army. We trust them as much as we trust our soldiers. Nevertheless not all of our problems can be solved by the doctors.

I would like to talk about economy. Even before the coronavirus, it was affected by the bacillus of dilettantism and amateurism. For less than a year, servants wasted everything that the people had earned and suffered for 5 years with blood and sweat fightingthe economic consequences of Russian aggression. Even before the coronavirus, our industry went into a dive. Even before the coronavirus, our GDP slid down after 49 months of continuous growth. Even before the coronavirus, the state budget fell apart. Even before the coronavirus, pension payments to Ukrainian retirees failed to be timely indexed. And now, all these internal “successes” of the new faces are affected by the global recession.

Action must be taken immediately. Strategic decisions are clear.

It is vital for Ukraine to resume immediate cooperation with the IMF.  This financial-oxygen pillow will provide us with a safety margin. Now the Fund does not make any burdensome demands for Ukrainians. The main requirements of the Fund concern only two people: the president himself and his longtime business partner and patron. 

Ukraine could have got the IMF support already back in the end of the last year. It could have prevented the economic downturn. It could have been disbursed if the government had passed the law to guarantee that the PrivatBank could not return to the former owners. What is the reason for the Fund to give money to Ukraine if they immediately could become a reward for a former shareholder of a PrivatBank? 

The draft of the law was agreed with the Fund. But afterwards the government decided to deceive our international partners and stealthily incorporated inappropriate amendments. I was informed about this by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva during our meeting in Brussels.  

It is time, dear «servants», to choose between the interests of the nation and the dream of Kolomoiskiyabout the bank for himself and default for Ukraine. The government should immediately submit an appropriate bill – and this should be done without any shell game. 

Then (early next week) the Verkhovna Rada should hold the extraordinary meeting. This is not advice. This is a requirement. The “European Solidarity” will definitely support the adoption of this law. 

Resumption of cooperation with the IMF will open the way to obtaining macro-financial assistance from the European Union, as well as for a loan from the World Bank – our key partner. According to preliminary information, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank and other international financial institutions are ready to allocate additional funds for Ukraine.  At the sametime the program with the IMF could be increased by additional 1.5-2 billion dollars, which Ukraine needs as an air.

It is important to preserve the independence of the National Bank for maintaining financial stability. The policy concerning the national currency should be predictable and well-balanced. The gold and currency reserves, which have been accumulated during the previous years, allow to prevent the rapid collapse of the hryvnia and give the possibility to deter inflation. It is necessary to define several sectors where the longest chain of Ukrainian production is involved and which guarantee the highest number of employment – and find ways to support them.  We have already prepared the proposals.

The government should stimulate exports and employment at the enterprises. Instead, unfortunately, even before the coronavirus and for the first time since 2015 there have been resumed the delays in reimbursement of VAT for the enterprises. They wash off the current funds of the enterprises, which only worsen the economic decline. This practice should be nipped in the bud. In order to stimulate domestic production and save employment we have to proceed with infrastructure projects such as road construction or renewal of rolling stock by wagons of domestic production.  

And the state defense order that, unfortunately, has not been approved yet by now. We demand to approve it as soon as possible, because it would provide jobs and strengthen the defense capacity of the state.

It is reasonable to propose changes to the public procurement system through “Prozorro” to make certain preferences for domestic producers. It is necessary to protect the business from detrimental tax innovations of the government, similar to the ones that the monomajority has massively printed last year. Instead, we propose to return to the idea of a tax on withdrawn capital that should become a powerful incentive for investing in production and creating new employment possibilities. 

At the same time, we warn against populist ideas that would only deepen financial instability and crisis developments. The economy could be keep afloat only by means of responsible decisions. Only in this way we can count on implementation of key social programs. And it is a good sign that the government has heard our request for indexing pension payments and promises to launch it as from this May. I will take you at your word. 

The last but not least. The “European Solidarity” is in favour of a moratorium on internal political battles. We are in favour of postponing the battles among all politicians for a later stage, for when we will overcome the virus. But we also have a demand in return for the authorities – so that they refrain from making questionable decisions that cause polarization and tensions in society, split it out. In particular, it concerns the idea of vivifying the Russian military bases in Crimea by the Dnipro river water. Or the protocol on legitimization of the Russian occupying authorities in Donbas. Is it not with this intention that the haste is connected, with which the government plans the state of emergency in violation of the constitutional procedure?  

The state of emergency is about curfew, censorship, food cards – all these are unlikely to stop the virus. Instead, it would completely destroy economy, bring it to a state of clinical death. In the end, we would face a lack of resources required for fighting corona and other viruses, as well as for salaries, pension payments etc.

This President has enough power – much more than any of his predecessors.

Dear Ukrainians!

In 2014-15, we were not in a better situation but in a more difficult one. Instead, we survived and became stronger. And this is the path we have to follow today.

I hope the authorities will hear our proposals.

I believe that together we will overcome both the virus and the crisis.

I am sure we will win!

Glory to Ukraine!