Distinguished colleagues, fellow Ukrainians.
Every day we are fighting for a better future for our country. Despite all the challenges, our Government has not delayed the payment of pensions, social benefits, privileges and subsidies for a single month.
During the full-scale war, we have already carried out two rounds of pension indexation. In March 2024, we will conduct another one. According to preliminary calculations by the Ministry of Social Policy, pensions will increase by an average of 13%.
In total, social expenditures of the state budget in 2024 will amount to UAH 470 billion. This is UAH 25 billion more than last year.
We will allocate UAH 50 billion for subsidies. This is UAH 12 billion more than last year.We are expanding the programme to support low-income families.
We are almost doubling spending on social protection for people with disabilities.
We are increasing the minimum wage. We will continue to help internally displaced persons.
We also maintain a constant focus on comprehensive support for Ukrainian veterans. This year, the Government will also double the funding for relevant programmes. The budget envisages over UAH 14 billion to support Ukrainian veterans.
In particular, more than UAH 2.5 billion will be allotted for rehabilitation and psychological assistance to veterans.
At the same time, we are changing approaches in the social sphere. We continue digitalisation. We have already combined the payment of pensions, subsidies and social insurance in the Pension Fund.
We are launching electronic case management. This is an approach that will allow for an individual support for Ukrainian families. All organisational processes will be simplified and automated.
Our policy is to create opportunities for people to provide for themselves and their families. And the state will be supporting those who really need it.
It is clear that an efficient social welfare system requires an efficient economy.
Therefore, this year we will continue to stimulate the economy through business support programmes.
In total, we will disburse over UAH 40 billion for these incentives.
We continue and improve one of the most successful government programmes for concessional lending, 5-7-9. In total, we allocate UAH 18 billion for affordable loans for small and medium-sized businesses.
More than 11,000 Ukrainians have already received non-refundable grants from the state to start or expand their businesses. This is the eRobota programme, which has already entailed the creation of more than 35,000 new jobs.
This year’s plans are to issue about 15,000 grants. In particular, we intend to help create more than 1,000 new veteran businesses.
We will support agrarians, the construction industry, the creation and development of processing enterprises.
Three billion will be earmarked for state support for large investment projects in Ukraine. For the first time, the budget included funds to expand the network of industrial parks. This is UAH 1 billion to boost the development of these industrial sites.
Today the Government has taken a decision to create another industrial park in Zakarpattia. It is a long-term investment of more than UAH 5 billion and the creation of about 2,000 new jobs.
Apart from that, the core objective of this year is to strengthen our defence capability.
In this regard, we have two crucial decisions today.
We earmark an additional almost UAH 2.5 billion from the reserve fund for the construction of engineering and fortification structures.
Of these funds, UAH 1.4 billion will be spent on fortification equipment for the defence borders. Another UAH 1.1 billion will be allocated for the construction of non-explosive barriers.
In addition, we have adopted a decision to disburse another UAH 120 million from the reserve fund for the State Border Guard Service. These resources are also intended to strengthen the defence capability and engineering and technical equipment of the border.
Finally. On the situation in the energy sector.
We are almost halfway through the winter. Thanks to the previous preparation and professionalism of power engineers, we have passed it successfully.
On January 10, we registered record consumption in the power system. The country's energy sector has been working at its peak and has managed to pass this test.
Currently, there is sufficient electricity to avoid the necessity to apply blackout schedules. However, due to bad weather and previous damage, emergency situations are possible.
That is why we once again call on everyone to economise. Let's help our power engineers together.
We will survive. We will win. We will rebuild.
Thank you all for your work. Glory to Ukraine!