The spirit of freedom espoused by Kakha Bendukidze and his like-minds dramatically changed Georgia. In Ukraine, we struggle for change as well but we seem to fail to understand the role of freedom in it. In this article I would like to reinforce the spirit of freedom and also discuss how we can use seemingly and undeservedly not very famous but effective instruments invented in Georgia.
The Position of VoxUkraine on the Transfer of Control over Ukrtransgaz to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine
On September 7, 2016, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine has amended the statute of Ukrtransgaz, the company responsible for the transit, transmission and storage of natural gas in Ukraine. The Ministry has thus took the control over Ukrtransgaz from NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine, which is also subordinated to the Ministry.
The pace of reforms in Ukraine remains slow. The index for monitoring reforms (iMoRe) in the period from the last days of August through the first days of September was 0.8 points. There was progress that took place in business environment reform, public administration, and energy sectors. Nothing happened in public finance and monetary sector.
The “Nashi Hroshi with Denys Bigus” project has talked about the coal market and the activities of the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission with its head, Dmytro Vovk (27 years old). He assures that the Commission has become transparent, the coal market is identical to the gas market, and the imports of coal have been rising. The VoxCheck analysis has shown that this is not completely true. Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
Ukraine has everything to gain in embracing the current trend in bilateral trade liberalization and further developing privileged relations with its partners. The more the country will be integrated within global trade flows, the more it will export, gain in competitiveness and attract investments. Jocelyn Guitton and Clinton Martin analyze the three recent agreements between Canada, EU and Ukraine and draw several lessons from them.
VoxUkraine Research. The Power of People: What Helps and What Prevents Civil Society Organizations from Combatting Corruption in Ukraine
VoxUkraine and PACT implemented the Applied Political Economy Analysis (APEA) of civil society anti-corruption activities in Ukraine. The project was motivated by the importance of anti-corruption agenda for our country. First, the problem is really urgent. Second, high-level officials do not exhibit much dedication to combating corruption. Therefore, civil society has to assume one of the key roles in reducing the scale and opportunities for corruption. The project’s aim was thus to find out the incentives and constraints of anti-corruption civil society organizations (CSOs) in Ukraine and see how these differ for national-level (Kyiv-based) and subnational (regional) civil society groups.
As a discussion with respect to Ukrainian MP Sergiy Leshchenko shows, the life of a Ukrainian state official creates numerous opportunities for public outrage over his real or perceived sins. A state servant leads an apparently better life-style than a person with a comparable income could afford. Does he take bribes? Does he earn income from prohibited sources? Is there a difference? What about paying taxes on such unofficial income? Is the explanation for sources and nature of income for expensive purchases true?
Based on iMoRe, this summer the pace of economic reforms was twice lower than last summer. The Cabinet of Ministers was the most active in initiating pro-reform legislation, followed by the National Bank of Ukraine, while the President and the Parliament were ranked third and fourth respectively. The list of the most important pro-reform legal acts published this summer include amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine on judicial system, the law “On the Judicial System and Status of Judges”, improvement of corporate governance of state enterprises, introduction of private enforcement of court decisions, reduction of power of the State Fiscal Service to initiate criminal investigations, establishing of the National Repository of the Academic Texts, and simplification of drugs registration procedures.
Concrete roads are stronger and more durable than asphalt roads. Why are asphalt roads then dominant in Ukraine? According to the official version, concrete roads are more expensive and require additional equipment. What is the real reason why better roads are not being built in Ukraine? Oleh Radziyevski and Rostyslav Tchaikivsky have looked for the answers.
The central bank plans a speedy shift from targeting exchange rate to targeting inflation. For this, population expectations and trust to the actions of the authorities is paramount. Therefore, together with convenient measures such as independent central bank and responsible monetary policy, inconvenient measures can be implemented to affect the psychology of people, for example redenomination.
VoxUkraine continues to assess the efficiency of Ukrainian legislators. On the eve of the 5th session of the 8th convocation, we have updated our iMoRe ranking of reformers and have reached an interesting conclusion, which will help understand the real position of the formal opposition in voting for reformist draft laws. Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.