Now more than $30 billion in annual government spending will be cloaked from the public eye, according to the Nashi Groshi watchdog website. The bill addresses state-owned companies, like gas monopolist Naftogaz Ukraine and rail monopoly Ukrzalyznytsia, both in constant financial disarray. Agencies will no longer have to disclose with whom they do business or for how much. Worse still, they no longer have to accept competitive bids to award contracts.
Pro-presidential lawmaker Oleksandr Yefremov argued that the bill will allow state firms and other government entities to compete with the private sector. He said private firms don’t have to take bids, so why should government firms?
The problem with Yefremov’s analogy is that the government spends public money, while private businesses are accountable to their owners and shareholders, who impose their own discipline. Besides, many private companies do engage in competitive bidding for their purchases.