KYIV. Sept 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The League of Insurance Organizations of Ukraine (LIOU), jointly with the German Embassy to Ukraine which is the coordinator of relations between consulates and visa centers of the EU/Schengen zone states and representatives of the insurance market pursuant to Article 48 of the EU Visa Code, has published a list of Ukrainian insurance companies that can insure tourists travelling to the EU/Schengen zone.
The league said in a press release that the updated list includes 108 companies-members of LIOU, other associations of the insurance market, international financial groups, and unaffiliated companies.
As reported, at a joint meeting of its board and presidium on June 24, 2015, the LIOU approved the procedure for retaining the list of Ukrainian insurance companies that can insurer tourists travelling to the EU/Schengen zone.
The procedure took effect on July 1, 2015 and applies to insurance companies-members of LIOU only.
KYIV. Sept 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk has said that increased pensions, wages and social benefits in the budget sector will be paid in early October.
“As of October 4, retirees will get both supplemental payments for September and increased pensions for October. Increased wages in the budget sector will be paid within the first ten days of October,” he said during the 10 Minutes TV program on Sunday.
Yatseniuk said that during the previous week, the Ukrainian parliament had secured a constitutional majority to support a government-prepared bill on raising wages and pensions.
“The average increase will be between 13% and 19%. Highly skilled personnel will see a 19% increase in wages, while retirees’ payments will grow by 13%,” he said.
“Funds [for the increased payments] will be allocated from the national budget,” he said.
At the same time, Yatseniuk said that the local budgets had sufficient amounts to pay increased wages in the budget sector as budget decentralization has let them earn additional 40% in revenue.
KYIV. Sept 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian metallurgical enterprises in August 2015 saw steel production rise by 8.6% compared with July 2014, to 1.919 million tonnes, meaning that the country retained 10th position in the ranking of 65 countries that are the world’s major manufacturers of steel, compiled by the World Steel Association (Worldsteel).
Steel production in August fell in most of the top ten states, except for India, South Korea, Germany and Ukraine.
The top ten steel producing countries in August were China (66.94 million tonnes, a fall of 3.5%), Japan (8.801 million tonnes, a drop of 5.8%), India (7.66 million tonnes, an increase of 2.8%), the United States (6.999 million tonnes, a drop of 9.7%), Russia (6.046 million tonnes, a decline of 3.2%), South Korea (5.92 million tonnes, a rise of 4.9%), Germany (3.432 million tonnes, a rise of 10.7%), Brazil (2.799 million tonnes, a fall of 5.41%), Turkey (2.563 million tonnes, a drop of 11.8%), and Ukraine (1.919 million tonnes, a rise of 8.6%).
Taiwan ranked 11th (1.855 million tonnes, a decrease of 5.7%) and Mexico was 12th (1.52 million tonnes, a decrease of 7.1%).
In August 2015, the 65 countries produced 132.337 million tonnes of steel, which is 3% less than in August 2014.
Over the eight months of 2015, Ukraine ranked 11th (15.044 million tonnes, a drop of 23.6%).
In January-August 2015, the top ten steel producing countries were China (540.594 million tonnes, a fall of 2.1%), Japan (70.242 million tonnes, a drop of 4.9%), India (60.549 million tonnes, growth of 4.1%), the United States (54.01 million tonnes, a drop of 8.5%), Russia (47.778 million tonnes, a decline of 0.2%), South Korea (46.371 million tonnes, a drop of 3.2%), Germany (29.196 million tonnes, a rise of 0.5%), Brazil (22.752 million tonnes, an increase of 0.3%), Turkey (21.291 million tonnes, a drop of 7%), and Taiwan (15.126 million tonnes, a rise of 0.6%).
In general, for the eight months of 2015, the 65 countries manufactured 1.078 billion tonnes of steel, which is 9.5% less than in the same period in 2014.
KYIV. Sept 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Infrastructure Minister of Ukraine Andriy Pyvovarsky has invited Swedish investors to build berths in Ukrainian seaports while speaking at a conference on the country’s privatization program during his working visit to Stockholm, the ministry said in a press release on Monday.
He said that by 2020, Ukraine plans to double grain exports to around 70 million tonnes, while the capacity of Ukrainian ports are restricted with around 36 million tonnes a year.
“Ukrainian ports have large prospects for attracting transit cargo flows. We invite Swedish companies to build berths at seaports, exchange technologies, realize construction investment projects at ports and organize safety on sea transport,” the ministry said.
Pyvovarsky said that Ukraine also plans to privatize state-run stevedoring companies.
“We understand that the port sector would be interesting for large investment when the ownership issue is settled. The government has submitted a draft law to the parliament, which would allow for starting the privatization procedure for state-run stevedoring companies,” he said.
He also raised the issue of railway transport, adding that the adoption of the new law that regulates this sector would open up the railway transportation market to private traction.
KYIV. Sept 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Investment Bank (EIB) is considering providing guarantees worth EUR 460 million ($520 million) to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to credit Ukraine under five projects.
“The guarantee will cover five IBRD loans supporting projects in the road transport, power and energy efficiency sectors against the risk of default by Ukraine,” the EIB said in a report on its website.
The bank said that the guarantee will release IBRD exposure to Ukraine, enabling the IBRD to support gas purchases by Naftogaz.
The total cost of the five projects is EUR 1.53 billion ($1.73 billion).
KYIV. Sept 21 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a meeting of the National Reforms Council devoted to the anti-corruption reform, has said that the legal framework for fighting corruption had been created and currently the establishment of the required infrastructure and formation of anti-corruption personnel was being held.
“Basically, we formed a legal framework for fighting corruption. Now, we need to create appropriate infrastructure and, on the basis of rigid transparent competitive selection, form the backbone of honest and incorruptible law enforcers willing to go to the end. Their work shouldn’t be obstructed by any political pressure or lack of political will,” the press service of the head of state reported on September 18, citing Poroshenko.
“We must ensure a quick and efficient start of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, and form the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office as soon as possible,” the head of state said.
The Ukrainian president is confident that this will have been done by the end of the year, and the anti-corruption prosecutor will be appointed in November.
“Detectives can prepare relevant developments to have the first results of their work already this year,” Poroshenko said.
The president noted the importance of institutional steps taken – creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and Anti-Corruption Agency, formation of new prosecutorial staff.
The Ukrainian president commended the decision of the parliament, which delegated its representatives to the commission, which must determine the top managers of the specialized anti-corruption prosecutor’s office. Poroshenko noted the fact that the faction of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc had voted for representatives who often criticized him.
“In fact, it is easy to criticize, but it is the right step to unite and work together on a common result,” Poroshenko said.
Among successful anti-corruption steps, the president mentioned the work of volunteer troops in the Defense Ministry and transition to the pre-threshold electronic procurement system.
“The law on increasing transparency in ownership relations accelerates the creation of effective system aimed to prevent corruption. It enhances financial control over the assets and income of officials. Access to the registers of owners of movable and immovable property will be opened in early October, and we will not allow the delay,” he said.
However, he said, the war against corruption was started, but there are still no tangible victories.
“It is not enough to reveal, detain, dismiss and initiate criminal proceedings. We will no longer accept these reports. Ukrainian people require strict and inevitable criminal penalties for corruption. Corrupt officials must be in jail,” the president said.
In this context, he noted the role of judges who are often corrupt themselves. The head of state called on the MPs to submit the proposals of public organizations that provide for a radical renewal of the judiciary for consideration by the Venice Commission.
“The main thing is to ensure that corrupt officials are brought to justice. We must do everything to prevent the loss of faith in the effective fight against corruption and ensure an appropriate outcome,” he said.
The president urged the parliament to consider and approve the law that will prohibit the release on bail of civil servants, especially senior officials, suspected of corruption.
The president said that the anti-corruption reform should not be limited only to the punishment of corrupt officials. It also provides for the prevention of corruption, elimination of opportunities and reasons to take bribes.
Poroshenko said that the results of the anti-corruption reform must be noticed by Ukrainians, our foreign partners and investors who will actively invest in the Ukrainian economy, which will contribute to further economic growth.
The president also focused on the law on budget financing of political parties, stressing that if the parliament adopts this law, he will sign it without a delay.
“It is cheaper for the country to maintain the parties at the cost of the state budget than to bear huge losses from political corruption caused by the material dependence of the party projects on oligarchic structures,” the head of state said.
The Ukrainian president drew the attention of the economic development and trade minister to the need to accelerate the process of deregulation.
“The smaller the role of the state in the economy and human life, the smaller opportunity officials would have to demand bribes”, he said.
“I insist on speedy, fair and transparent privatization of state enterprises. I consider myself a follower of economic school, which believes the state a priori cannot be an effective owner. I am convinced that the government has the same views on privatization and there is no excuse that the parliament does not make relevant decisions blocking these extremely important processes,” the president said.
Speaking about the issue of wage of civil servants, Poroshenko said: “We are not a rich country to have cheap officials. Corruption risks of this policy are too high. We either learn to speak honestly with people, or move to this side of the shadow economy as well”.
Commenting on the abolition of parliamentary immunity, the president said that his draft amendments to the Constitution had been endorsed by the Constitutional Court and somehow disappeared in the archives of the Verkhovna Rada.
“I emphasize that every MP must be responsible for this. The same thing is with the judicial immunity. The Prosecutor General’s Office must do everything for Ukraine to have no more people protected from prosecution for offenses committed,” the president said.