Esteemed colleagues, fellow Ukrainians.
We are starting a regular meeting of the Government.
The key focus of our work remains unchanged. We need to provide the defence forces, guarantee macro-financial stability, and start the recovery.
This week, we reached a working-level agreement with the IMF on a new financing programme. The programme is worth USD 15.6 billion. It is designed for 48 months and will have two stages. We expect that in a few weeks the IMF Board of Directors will finally approve the new programme. This will help us attract funds from other international partners and finance all key budget expenditures for this year.
Also this week, the Parliament supported a government bill increasing budget expenditures by UAH 537 billion. These are funds for the security and defence forces. These are funds for new weapons, equipment, salaries and protection for our soldiers. This is what will make our country stronger and bring our victory closer. We are grateful to MPs for supporting this decision.
At the same time, the Government continues to accumulate resources and make preparations for the launch of the Ukraine recovery programme. Yesterday, together with the World Bank, we presented the second report assessing our war damage and recovery needs. As of June last year, the needs amounted to USD 349 billion, while today they are already USD 411 billion. Unfortunately, this amount is not final, as it is currently impossible to assess the destruction in the temporarily occupied territories.
Thanks to the World Bank’s assessment, we have a stable basis to rely upon in implementing rapid recovery projects. The process has already begun. First of all, in five priority areas: energy, humanitarian demining, housing, critical and social infrastructure, and business support.
Amid the difficult economic situation, we continue to support people. We are increasing pensions, preserving all subsidies, paying new types of benefits. On April 1, the special period of preferential electricity prices was due to end. That is why today the Government has decided to extend it. The special duty mechanism will remain in force until April 30 this year. This means that, as promised, the price of electricity will stay unchanged until the end of the heating season.
The second sowing campaign under martial law is underway in Ukraine. We are helping our farmers to make it successful again. According to preliminary estimates, we expect to harvest 45 million tonnes of grains and legumes. The wheat harvest is expected at 16.6 million tonnes. At the same time, domestic consumption is about 5 million tonnes. This means that, just like last year, Ukraine will be fully grain and food secure.
Another key programme to support businesses is the non-refundable grant programme, eRobota. The state provides funds for starting and developing one’s own business. Business creates jobs, pays taxes, exports products, invests its own funds, and restores the economy. Almost UAH 2.5 billion has already been allocated. Hundreds of new businesses are operating. Thousands of people have been employed. We are creating opportunities for more successful private businesses in Ukraine.
At the same time, we are continuing reforms in the employment sector. Today we are approving the procedure for training and retraining the unemployed. They will now receive profiling and vocational guidance services. A career advisor will help people choose the profession they are most suited to. The unemployed will decide where to study. We involve employers in the educational process. This will save time for the employee to adapt to a new job. The training will be paid for by the state via a special certificate. In this way, we will help thousands of people acquire new skills and get a new job.
Today’s agenda also includes a number of essential decisions in the field of logistics and defence infrastructure development.
First, we are approving a resolution to expand the construction of fortifications. We have almost UAH 1 billion in the budget for this programme. Regional military administrations are involved in the process together with the Ministry of Defence and our military. The result will be to strengthen the defence capability and security of our country.
Today we are also making decisions to improve logistics with our partner countries. These are changes to the intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Moldova. We will now have a direct rail freight connection to the port of Reni via Moldovan territory. In this way, we will maximise the potential of the Danube ports. Ukrainian ports on the Danube have increased their cargo turnover by 3.5 times, and this is not the limit. We continue to expand them.
To systematically modernise border crossing points, we are transferring the authority for their construction and repair to the Ministry of Infrastructure. The State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development will be responsible for the upgrade of road border crossing points. More than half of them need to be completed or reconstructed. New border infrastructure means comfort for people and businesses and the realisation of our European integration ambitions.
We are working towards victory and building a strong European state.
Thank you for your attention! Glory to Ukraine!