Victor Yushchenko met with Deputy Chief-of-Staff Anatoly Matviyenko, Emergency Minister Victor Baloha, Lugansk Governor Gennadiy Moskal, Ukrzaliznytsya Director General Vasyl Gladkykh, and Deputy Premier Stanislav Stashevsky to discuss ways to cope with last week’s accident in Alchevsk.

The President ordered Baloha and his specialists to completely restore heating supplies to the town in twelve days. He also asked Matviyenko to inform him of all problems impeding the repair activities. Yushchenko then criticized the local authorities but claimed that the problem had been caused by Ukraine’s decaying municipal system. He said he planned to convene a special meeting on municipal reform, the President's press office informed.

“This reform is ‘overripe’ and it cannot be put offany longer,” he remarked.

Commenting on its key features, Yushchenko said it was necessary to optimize municipal tariffs. That means government will have to change the existing system of subsidies which is inadequate to our incomes.

“By properly carrying out tariff policy local authorities should help those who really need subsidies,” he opined.

Energy efficiency and conservation is vital for the country. Our municipal economy is excessively energy-consuming.

“The rational use of energy isone morefeature of the municipal reform. Experts claim that we lose 50% of energy when heating our homes,” he said and added that this problem is linked to the tariff issue. “Proper tariffs always minimize expenses.”

The President also said it was important to timely pay for consumed energy.

Then henoted thatit would beright to promote competition in this field.Yushchenko is convinced that the municipal system can be profitable and thereby attractive to private owners.

“So the privatization of municipal services should be on our agenda,” he concluded.


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