At a broadened meeting of the cabinet, Victor Yushchenko urged all ministers to elaborate a 2006 development program, President's press office reported.

He thinks the most important point is investment policy. The President said currently there was a slump in foreign investment and national capital outflow in many regions of Ukraine.

“This tendency, which affects all entrepreneurs, is not the thing for us in 2006,” he stressed.

Yushchenko believes the state development program should convince investors that government knows how to solve their problems in 2006. Yushchenko added that he particularly meant the so-called free economic zones and zones for priority development.

The President recommended the cabinet to describe achievements and failures of each region in the document. He said it would be expedient to conduct another meeting to assess all regional leaders and their work. He said the lack of well-grounded assessment of specific territories was an “obvious minus” of the program.

Yushchenko is convinced the document should contain initiatives to establish land relations and implement social and economic programs. He stressed it was also important to formulate a procedure of VAT compensation, for state debts are “the best soil for corruption.”

“The state must fulfill its market obligations,” he said. “I am convinced business expects us to restructure budget debts.”

The President added that government should “mindfully consider this problem as a partner” and advised the ministers to include this task in the program.

Yushchenko suggested they should also elaborate ways to reform our customs policy. He asked the Head of the State Border Committee to formulate several programs for 2006.

Then the President said “government often has to deal with monopolists in the market” and added that this hampered the development of our economy.

“I want the Anti-Monopoly Committee to fairly implement anti-monopoly policy,” he said. “Each official can say that nobody can see the AMC work in this country because we cannot protect honest and competitive producers.”

The Head of State reiterated that he wanted 2006 to be a year of farming. He said this initiative should be elaborated as a “separate national program” and urged those present to formulate specific plans to develop the village infrastructure.

Victor Yushchenko also spoke about ways to reform the medical branch in 2006.

“I think all chapters concerning the medical branch should be seriously revised,” he said.

The President believes the cabinet should formulate specific target programs to fundamentally reform services rendering first aid and fight HIV/AIDS, TB, cancer and heart diseases.

The Head of State also said the state program should stipulate measures Ukraine should adopt to reform its judicial system, coal industry and municipal sector.

Yushchenko stressed it was incumbent upon the cabinet to create worthy working conditions for judges and said the state should repair, reconstruct and build new premises for district courts. The President added that the government should spare no effort to solve problems of state mines and then ordered the Head of the State Committee on Municipal Reforms to propose a plan to reform the sector in 2006.

The President is convinced the development program should also include a chapter on environmental problems.

“I am sure we should have a plan that would be adequate to people’s expectations,” he said.

Commenting on the work of the new government, the President was quite complimentary. Yushchenko said he positively assessed their initiatives to stabilize the economy and correct mistakes of the previous cabinet.

“I do not idealize this years’ budget but our financial results are fine,” he said.

The President believes negative social and economic tendencies of the year could have been caused by “the deep interference in the economy” leading “to system branch crises.” He said they should accept these challenges and noted that there was obvious progress in the agrarian sector.


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