Victor Yushchenko told a press conference in Lugansk on Thursday one of the priorities for the national coal mining industry was to develop and ensure security at coal mines. He said the security issue had been high on his agenda during the meeting with Ukrainian miners, president's press office reported.

“When we were discussing this year’s plans in the industry, we agreed that this issue would be our point number one. We must spare no effort to introduce effective security measures at coal mines,” he said, adding that there should be “no deficit of funds” for this.

Yushchenko said the coal industry “has been gradually reviving in the past five years” despite lots of difficulties. “I am saying this not only because of the growing output of coal but because there are some new conditions marking the transition from the policy of depression and regress to the policy of modernization,” he said.

He said Ukraine’s political leaders, “no matter what political colors they represent,” realized that the coal industry was a strategic sector to develop the national energy market.

The President also opined that the government should stage transparent and fair privatizations in the coal mining industry to ensure its development. 

“I do not think a state-controlled monopoly is a right model for this industry. This is a very difficult and wrong path,” he said.

The President said businessmen were often more efficient than state managers. “The state is weak in business. Any business it controls sooner or later faces very serious structural challenges,” he said, adding, however, that the government should control some strategically important sectors.  

He called on the miners to be more liberal.

“Nobody says the government will take your money and send it somewhere. We can reinforce our financial influence on the sector if there are motivations along with state funds,” he said, adding that those “motivations” were a good salary and other social benefits.


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