Statement on the Extention of the Moratorium on the Sale of Agricultural Land

Denying the right to trade land robs Ukrainians of the ability to earn income and grow the economy

We are Ukrainians who are deeply committed to transforming Ukraine into a prosperous and successful nation. Over the last several years, we have worked on structural reforms, developing political and economic institutions, and helping Ukraine to become a true democracy. We are united in our desire to see Ukraine strive and be a value to its people and to the world.

Today Ukraine once again finds itself in the midst of political turmoil, which leads to inability of the government and the parliament to move forward with critical reforms. Backtracking on reforms poses a threat to the national security of Ukraine and, we are afraid, its sovereignty.

In these conditions, the legislative branch of power – the Parliament of Ukraine – can step in and show wisdom by overcoming differences and seeing pass minute political disagreements. The parliament can show leadership, abandon populist agenda, and pass key reform legislation that is expected of us by the people of Ukraine and by the international community.

One such piece of legislation can be abandoning the moratorium on selling land. The land market is long overdue. In a free market economy, the land must be a tradable good. Denying the right to trade land robs Ukrainians of the ability to earn income and grow the economy, which is needed so badly today. There are concerns that a free market can make rich richer and hurt those who are vulnerable. These are well-intentioned and serious issues that can and must be addressed simultaneously with introducing the market for land.

In a free market economy, the land must be a tradable good. Denying the right to trade land robs Ukrainians of the ability to earn income and grow the economy, which is needed so badly today.

Ukrainian individuals and small and medium farms and businesses should be given access to loans and capital so that they can compete on equal terms with large domestic and international companies. The property rights for land should be secured so that individuals do not get exploited during the initial stages of the market development. These institutional details however should not be the reason for extending the moratorium for land sale once again. Moratorium does nothing to develop the market, including safeguards for vulnerable population. Instead, it allows vested interests to continue to earn rents through restricting access to land for their competitors.

Removing the moratorium for land will also give a major boost of morale to the Ukrainian and international markets, providing us with a much needed piece of good news. It will generate domestic and international support, will help stabilize the economy, and will mitigate the consequences of the political crisis. As the government becomes distracted by the politics, it is the responsibility of the legislature to show initiative and keep the country on course.

Please just remember that you will not be judged on your promises, but on your actions and deliverables.

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