President Viktor Yushchenko on Friday sent a letter to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych with a request to pay off last year’s UAH 14 mln debt to farmers within the next twenty days, Presiednt’s press office reports.

Yushchenko said many Ukrainian farmers relied on state subsidies and raised livestock and poultry to earn their living. He added that the Government’s inability or reluctance to resolve the problem led to tensions in the regions.

The President added that this year’s meat import had grown by 40% while wholesale meat prices had fallen by 10%.

“There are reasons to claim that the executive branch is not interested in supporting local farmers and creates conditions for importing more foreign products,” he said.

Also, President Victor Yushchenko made a request to investigate how Ukraine’s Finance Ministry and Control and Revision Department use budget funds.

The Finance Ministry was going to pay UAH 3.5 mln in 2007 to an NGO selected at a public competition to fight corruption. However, it invited only two such organizations: Anti-Corruption Forum and the National Committee to Fight Corruption. Anti-Corruption Forum, which had been founded in 2001 by M. Azarov, one of the leaders of the Regions Party and Ukraine’s Finance Minister, won the competition.

“There are certain doubts about the transparency of this competition and the efficiency of how the abovementioned funds are being used, as the head of the Finance Ministry of Ukraine has personal and party ties with the organization that won the competition.”

Yushchenko said the participation of Azarov and other leaders of the Ministry in these non-transparent schemes “casts doubt on the Government’s intentions to fight corruption.”

The President said P. Andreyev, head of the Control and Revision Department, had invited several private companies (Vision, Comedy Club Ukraine, Vi-di, Rainford Electronics, Rutenia and Kyiv Jewelry Factory) to sponsor a beauty pageant. They gave presents to state officials, which can “influence” the audits of these companies by the Control and Revision Department. He added that several state-owned companies had paid UAH 1.8 mln to Capital Group, an audit company led by Andreyev’s wife.


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