The coal industry is one of the most significant energy sectors of the national economy and requires development and further renewal, Victor Yushchenko said on Thursday in a speech to open a meeting with representatives of the Lugansk region’s miners at the Luganskvugillya mine, president's press office reported.
“The coal industry is one of the most important sectors of Ukraine’s energy complex and so we must approach it not like amateurs but having an action plan for 2007,” he said.
The President said he had signed a decree in December 2005 after a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council to improve the situation in the sector but added that one, unfortunately, “cannot be satisfied with what is happening in the industry, even though there are a few good tendencies.” He urged the government and miners to join their efforts to develop the industry, particularly to speak about how to manage the coal market efficiently and liberalize coal prices, which, he thinks, will help the country’s miners cover their production costs.
“If we want to limit the price in the coal sector with one hand, not allowing the miners to cover their expenses in a market way, we have no right to speak about investment,” he said, adding that it was important to create a competitive coal market, whose participants are motivated.
Yushchenko said the industry needs investment. He said we “must spare no effort to ensure that the state is not the only party interested in the development of the industry.” He, however, added that the government should spend budget funds to reequip the mines.
“We should have lots of partners, including private business,” he said. “I am convinced that there will be very few people to say: ‘Leave the state one-on-one with the problems in the industry.’ No, it is not like this. It is necessary to open the door for other opportunities. One of them is, of course, privatization.”
The President also suggested legalizing mines working with no license. “There is only one way and it is to admit that we have such mines, formalize the license process and inspection, and build new fiscal, social and other ties [with these mines],” he said.
Before the meeting, Yushchenko spoke with those working at
Luganskvugillya. He told them it was vital to revise the National Program to
Develop the Coal Industry and boost the prestige of their job by improving their
social standards. The miners gave him a uniform.
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