The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal has given a large press conference dedicated to 100 days of his Government’s activities.
In his opening statement, the Prime Minister stressed that "the first 100 days of the Government's activities were indeed a short period, but it turned out to be quite challenging", primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic and the economic slump it caused.
"Our Government introduced quarantine in a timely manner, thereby allowing probably to have saved thousands of lives. It enabled us to prepare the medical system for the challenges we will face in the future. We have managed to fight the coronavirus, we have passed the first three months with the moderate scenario, we have not fallen into the abyss into which Italy, Spain and other countries all over the world have fallen, but today this threat still remains imminent," said the Prime Minister urging Ukrainians not to neglect personal safety means, to maintain social distancing and stay alert.
Moreover, Denys Shmyhal stated that the Government had managed to provide the healthcare system with personal protective equipment. "At the beginning of the epidemic, the provision of hospitals in the first wave to accept patients with COVID-19 with personal protective equipment and medicines had been less than 40%, the availability of medical personnel in hospitals had been less than 70%. Currently, these figures range between 70-80%. That is, the first wave of the healthcare system is ready to accept a sufficiently large number of patients if necessary," the PM stressed.
According to the Prime Minister, the Government has taken quick measures to support vulnerable population and small and micro-businesses. "Without delay, all decisions were made to increase pensions, to index pensions, decisions were taken to reduce the terms of registration of the unemployed, to speed up the accrual of compensations for this category, to increase the amounts of payments to individual entrepreneurs who have children. It was the moral and material responsibility of the Government and the State to people who had lost the opportunity to earn money through quarantine restrictions," the Head of Government emphasized.
"Rapid changes to the budget made it possible to respond to COVID quite effectively," continued Denys Shmyhal. "We have established a Fund to combat COVID-19 with a resource of UAH 65 billion, and this gives us the opportunity to respond quickly to the challenges that are now associated with the effects of the epidemic. We understand these consequences, their impact on the economy, and we understand what we have to do further."
In addition, the Prime Minister noted that among the principal objectives for the Government this year is to reinvigorate the economy. To do this, according to Denys Shmyhal, the Government uses classical approaches that are known around the world. These are growing Government orders, support for domestic manufacturers, this is an investment in Great Construction and so on.
In the first 100 days of its work, the Government had given a new impetus to decentralization reform. "We have completed the formation of a long-term plan for communities throughout Ukraine. We are now engaged in discussing the formation of districts. We are planning to form 129 out of 430 districts. And that will mean the completion of the main stage of decentralization reform," said Denys Shmyhal, adding that the reform will wind up this year and local elections in the fall will be held according to a new administrative-territorial division.
"We have adopted a program to stimulate the economy. The Economic Development Council of Ukraine was established, which brought together all the most competent scientists, businessmen, associations, analysts, experts, who helped the Government to develop an immense program to overcome the aftereffects of COVID-19, called "Economic Recovery", and contains more than 230 specific measures", the Head of the Government announced.
The Prime Minister also reminded that the Government is effectively cooperating with the NBU, which allowed to reduce the refinancing rate from 11% to 6%, and has concluded negotiations with the International Monetary Fund by approving a Memorandum under which Ukraine will receive US$ 5 billion throughout two years under the favourable for Ukraine conditions.
According to Denys Shmyhal, in the first 100 days of its work, the Government has also established an Anti-Crisis Headquarters in the energy sector and agreed on a Memorandum with renewable energy producers.
"For the first time in 5 years, the Government has directly joined the Minsk talks, in which Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for the Reintegration of the Occupied Territories Oleksii Reznikov is participating," Denys Shmyhal continued and added that the Government would actively continue this work to bring a peaceful settlement closer.
"I hope that the Government will further yield concrete results, it will neither be the Government of dreamers, nor the Government for politicking. Our mission is to exert every effort to improve the well-being of Ukrainians and overcome the consequences of the crisis. Our actions must be concrete, effective and clear," said Denys Shmyhal.