Over the next 10 years, rebuilding Ukraine will take $411 billion, according to the World Bank. “Ukraine has immense recovery and reconstruction needs,” said World Bank President David Malpass when opening the traditional Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF. On April 12, during the third Ukraine Ministerial Roundtable, the Bank estimated there is an $11 billion funding gap for critical spending in 2023.
Ukrainian economist and MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak said the results of the meeting inspire optimism. The World Bank has issued two documents that will help raise money. Namely, a second assessment of the impact of the war and a clear amount of money needed for reconstruction. Also important is the statement of the president of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, regarding the amount of money for 2023 for Fast Recovery. Which, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine expects to find in the first half of this year.
Zhelezniak acted on behalf of Ukraine as co-chairman of the group of interaction with the IMF and the World Bank and also had separate sessions with Malpass and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
He told the Kyiv Post the process of allocating funds for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine is not an easy process – there are many conditions the IMF requires.
According to the World Bank, the immediate priority is to prevent embezzlement from the budget. - a.To support this objective, a special joint fund will be created to allocate money on restoration.
Another concerns the future. Currently, funds go through various institutions, as well as through the World Bank, and then through budget financing and various other organizations.
“In the future, these will be transparent procedures with mandatory accountability - which we want to see, including companies from countries that help us,” Zheleziak told the Kyiv Post. “Georgieva and Malpass also stressed that it is necessary to involve Ukrainian businesses as much as possible in the restoration process.” .
Prime Minister Shmygal said that Ukraine is ready to demonstrate maximum transparency. In addition, there is a separate Rise coalition, which includes other public organizations, including the Anti-Corruption Center, which is designed to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the country's reconstruction.
The next important point is the overall compliance of the Ukrainian leadership with the requirements of the IMF. Now these are 19 structural benchmarks, one of which (regarding amendments to the Budget code) has already been implemented, and the second is awaiting the President’s signature.
According to Zhelezniak, the difficult part will be the anti-corruption measures, consisting of four points. Namely, the independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's office, the return of declarations, the automation of data collection for declarations, and the return of financial monitoring for politicians, even if they haven’t been in office for more than three years.
“In general, we are implementing the memorandum on economic and financial policy. Sometimes with errors - but we immediately try to correct them,” Zhelezniak commented. “But now the most harmful thing to the country is Rostyslav Shurma from the Presidential Office. Which only promotes itself and worsens the business climate through its actions.
“I have heard many times from various representatives of the IMF the question of why we simultaneously state in the memorandum that Ukraine is in favor of tax stability and will not take drastic steps. And at the same time, we have a person in an official position who makes frankly ridiculous statements. But after our explanations to our foreign colleagues that sometimes we have such incidents, they treat them with understanding and humor.”
However, sometimes representatives of the IMF may be somewhat disappointed because of such actions. However, according to Zhelezniak, this happens to everyone and there are not that many problems in Ukraine. But as Ukraine seeks to gain more trust and, consequently, more funding, it is necessary to reform effectively and eliminate these mistakes.
“Of course, politicians do not like electronic declarations and do not want to return to them,” Zhelezniak said. “And, of course, the Office of the President does not want to overload the Economic Security Burea of Ukraine (BEB), because it is convenient for him to manage it. Also, no one wants to fight corruption at customs, because this is money. But our task is to use the position of international partners to put the most effective points in the memorandum in order to make Ukraine successful.”
According to the Ukrainian economist, if someone interferes with reform, they should resign from their post or be placed on the sanctions list. However, he says that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) should complete their investigations, andsend the cases to court.
The IMF memorandum also specifies a complete reset of the BEB structure. Namely, the selection of a new chairman by an international commission, of which the majority are international members. They will choose a candidate appointed by the Prime Minister of Ukraine. And then this new chairman can appoint deputies - not the Office of the President. After that, the entire structure must be restarted through certification.
“My personal position is that former law enforcement officers have no right to be in this body at all. After all, we want to build something new,” said Zhelezniak. “For example, now the acting person is Eduard Fedorov. I do not know him personally, but the man worked all his life in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), then he was a Deputy Executive Directorate of the Kyiv customs. And I know about customs that they actively take bribes there. Also, I do not know anything good about the work of the SBU, especially in the economic sphere.”
“When we create this new analytical body, we need to put in new people, not old ones, in these new positions. Only in this way will we demand international competition as much as possible.”
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