Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine Ihor Petrashko, at a briefing following the Cabinet’s meeting on April 8, named the main economic priorities against the background of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to him, due to the global problem caused by the coronavirus, this year's economic decline will be 4.8% of GDP. In addition, unemployment will bear both temporary and permanent character and is projected at 9.4% this year (as of April 7, the number of registered unemployed in the employment system in Ukraine is 364,000 people).
Given these challenges, according to Ihor Petrashko, the Government sets three main economic priorities in activities: to preserve the maximum number of jobs; to support those who have already lost their jobs; to ensure economic recovery after the end of the quarantine due to the coronavirus.
To fulfill these objectives, the Government is expanding unemployment support programs and facilitating access for those who have already lost their jobs. "Access to the programs is simplified at maximum, budget funding is also provided for that. We consider this as one of the elements of maintaining social stability and supporting the consumer market," the Minister explained.
To support people who have temporarily lost their jobs due to the closure of certain areas or businesses during quarantine, decisions have been made to simplify regulations.
Moreover, the Government is taking steps to encourage production and promotion of small and medium-sized businesses. According to him, the program "Available Loans at 5-7-9%" is being updated in view of current developments. "I hope we will adopt it in the near future," the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has embarked on developing a broader business assistance program. "We look forward to the cooperation of the National Bank, as it is clear that the budget funding will be limited. However, we will actively engage in supporting the business at this time, adopting the best practices of the US and EU states," said Ihor Petrashko.
In addition, according to the official, "financial support for farmers has been preserved, thereby producing an effect of a multiplier, enabling both saving jobs and creating new ones."
All the efforts are exerted to support exports. "We, as large agricultural exporters, are very careful about two things: our businesses, farmers, processing sectors must continue to export products while maintaining price dynamics for basic products consumed by the population," the Minister said, adding it was critical to ensure that prices in Ukraine be affordable while products - sufficient.
At that, Ihor Petrashko assured that there were no grounds to discuss the alleged shortage of wheat in Ukraine as the country has sufficient storages of grain.