Distinguished colleagues, fellow Ukrainians!
We commence the first regular session of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in 2023. We are all continuously working to make this year the year of our victory.
We have a clear understanding of how to counteract the enemy, how to secure the front and hold the rear starting this year. We must remain united and continue to act as one.
Therefore, today I will announce the government's priorities and the main directions along which we will move forward in 2023, with the key ones announced by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in his annual address.
The first priority is the support of the army, maintaining defense and security.
This year, we will allocate half of the budget to provide everything our Armed Forces need. All taxes paid by citizens and businesses will go to defense and security. Our army will become even stronger. We will accelerate new programs of production and procurement of weapons and equipment.
At the same time, the security component will also be key. We are at war with a cynical and insidious enemy. For him, civilian casualties are as desirable as military ones. Therefore, we need security everywhere.
In 2023, we will be actively creating a security infrastructure. This is an extensive network of modern equipped shelters within walking distance.
In particular, today we shall make a decision to improve the design of buildings. We are determining the list of facilities, the construction of which must include shelters and other elements of protection. These are educational institutions, hospitals, residential and public buildings, critical infrastructure facilities.
We will also install additional means of verification in public places: frames and scanners. In the context of the fight against a real terrorist, this is also an integral measure.
We will regulate the circulation of weapons in Ukraine. We will realize the right of people to self-defense and at the same time create the necessary safeguards.
Second priority is the integration of Ukraine into the EU and NATO.
We have received the status of a candidate state for EU membership, five "visa-free regimes" with the European Union, and have executed almost 70% of the Association Agreement.
In 2023, we aim to start negotiations on membership in the European Union. To do this, we will develop a position on all 35 sections of the future Membership Agreement. We will prepare a delegation of professional negotiators who will bring us closer to the goal.
The first important challenge of this year is the holding of the EU-Ukraine Summit in early February. The fact that it will be held in Kyiv is an important message for Ukraine and the whole world. It is a signal that we are not alone in countering aggression and are steadily heading towards our common victory over the enemy.
The next NATO summit will be held in July in Vilnius. We have started preparing for it already. We strive to consolidate Ukraine's place in the transatlantic security system.
The Ukrainian army directly on the battlefield is switching to NATO standards. We are already using NATO principles of strategic planning, education, training of personnel and units, warfare. Thanks to this, apart from succeeding in deterring the enemy, we are liberating the territories captured by it.
After our victory, we must transition to a strong contract army and at the same time provide everyone with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills that will help defend the country if the enemy attacks again.
Third priority is the energy front.
Successfully completing the heating season, repairing the damage caused by the russian barbarians, ensuring the uninterrupted operation of critical infrastructure, strengthening the security of energy facilities, especially nuclear power plants is a mandatory minimum program.
Plans for energy decarbonization and green transformation remain relevant. The war has made these challenges even more urgent. We will actively use the potential of renewable energy: solar, wind, hydropower generation, hydrogen technologies.
russian attacks push us to a radical reform - building a decentralized energy system. Then it will be less vulnerable to enemy attacks. We are talking about the creation of mini-power plants and small generation facilities integrated into the existing energy system.
Also in 2023, a legislative framework will be created to reform the State Reserve Agency, in particular, this issue concerns the formation of minimum reserves of oil and petroleum products to ensure its continuous supply to the domestic market. The state will continue to invest in increasing its own gas production to ensure full energy independence in this regard.
Fourth priority for this year is the restoration of Ukraine.
Together with the World Bank, we plan to conduct another verification of Ukraine's needs for rapid recovery. Let me remind you that we have such a fixation at the beginning of June. Then the figure was USD 350 billion worth damages. Given the recent attacks on our infrastructure, as of today this number exceeds USD 700 billion.
The state budget for the current year provides UAH 35.5 billion for the Fund for the Elimination of the Consequences of Armed Aggression. This is the construction and repair of public buildings, critical infrastructure facilities, provision of housing for IDPs. Also, in the near future, we expect to start the restoration at the expense of funds seized from russian banks - there is already a sum worth UAH 17 billion on the special account for this purpose. The primary concern is the destroyed housing of citizens.
Attraction of foreign investments into the Ukrainian economy will be a part of the major reconstruction. Therefore, this year we must complete the negotiations on the insurance of military risks for foreign investors.
Inside the country, the priority is to create the most favorable conditions for investment. In particular, simplification of preparation and implementation of public-private partnership projects. As well as minimization of requirements for investment projects with significant investments and further simplification of permitting and licensing conditions.
Fifth priority is macro-financial stability and business support programs.
We are working with partners to attract USD 38 billion to finance the budget deficit this year. These are primarily funds from the EU, the USA, and the IMF. Macro-financial stability is the foundation of our economic recovery. We have a clear plan to fully finance all critical expenditures just like last year.
In 2023, the Government will continue the most effective programs to help the private sector. These are soft loans at 5-7-9%, grants under the eRobota (eWork – ed.) project, state support for Ukrainian processing industry and domestic producers in general. A program of affordable mortgage lending, eOselia (eHousing – ed.), will be activated to stimulate the construction sector.
Sixth priority is the veteran policy.
The formula of the state veteran policy is simple. It is opportunities and respect for veterans.
In 2023, we plan to approve a Strategy of transition from military service to civilian life and an action plan for its implementation. The strategy will be based on 4 key needs: economic independence, funds, housing, and medical services.
Opportunities for military career, retraining, support for veteran business. Providing veterans with housing, in particular through compensation of interest rates on mortgages and financial leasing. A three-level system of free psychological assistance to veterans. All this should be implemented this year.
Our veterans are our pride. And the state will create the best opportunities for them.
Seventh priority is education.
We will focus on the safety of pupils, students, teachers, lecturers. Currently, 65% of educational institutions in Ukraine are provided with shelters. This is not enough, all educational institutions must have reliable and properly equipped shelters.
The distance format of education will be improved. We must resort to online learning to protect the life and health of children. It is important to fill the digital space with quality content, create asynchronous learning tools, provide students and teachers with access to high-speed Internet.
Also in 2023, the New Ukrainian School reforms in grades 5-9 will be continued.
Eighth priority is the continuation of decentralization reform.
It is about introducing the system of prefects – officials who will carry out administrative supervision on the ground. Prefects are non-political persons who will represent the state and monitor the constitutionality of local decisions. Our model is based on the best European practice that has proven its effectiveness.
After the end of martial law, it will be a good time to amend the Constitution, which will finalize the decentralization reform.
As a result, we will get a balanced, efficient and European system of governance with capable hromadas.
Ninth priority is the introduction of mandatory pension accumulation, and the simultaneous reform of the stock and capital markets.
Ukraine has been facing the problem of filling the Pension Fund for many years. The working-age population is decreasing, the number of pensioners is increasing. The war has made the situation critical.
The reform means that all employed Ukrainians will have their own pension savings accounts. The funds will come from three sources: the contribution of employers, the contribution of the state on a parity basis with the employer, and voluntary contributions of citizens.
Thus, we will implement in practice the right of every Ukrainian to a decent pension.
At the same time, it remains a strategic priority to continue supporting all Ukrainians who find themselves in difficult life circumstances. Targeting will be the key approach to social assistance. We will provide all social payments and pensions in full.
Tenth priority is the reform of state property management and public administration reform.
We do not change the approach to reducing the role of the state in the economy. Therefore, we keep the course on privatization. At the same time, the state will be an active player in some sectors primarily due to the sensitivity of these sectors to national security issues.
In 2023, we will move towards establishment of unified state-owned companies in the field of three strategic resources: land, water, and forests. Instead of dispersion, which breeds corruption, unification and strict control over the actions of managers.
State property should bring profit to Ukraine to ensure its sustainability today and its development tomorrow.
We also continue the reform of public administration. There should be fewer officials. Ministries should be engaged in development of policies and rules, instead of into the management of the real sector. Digitalization will become the basis for a new format of interaction between the state, citizens and businesses.
2023 will be the year of our victory. We are doing everything possible for this. We help the Armed Forces, on whose shoulders our freedom rests and whose hands will forge our victory.
I wish everyone stamina, energy and consolidated teamwork to adequately meet all the challenges of the new year.
Thank you for your attention! Glory to Ukraine!