Ukraine’s Lithuanian economy minister wants to improve transparency in state-owned companies

Aivaras Abromavičius

“Everything is being done with the aim to turn investments, both domestic and foreign, back to the country. This can only be possible with the fulfilment of several key conditions, including the radical elimination of various administrative barriers for business development. We have set the goal of making Ukraine a better place in regulatory terms, better than it is now… The goal is to make the regulatory base the best across Eastern Europe,” Abromavičius told the LRT radio on Friday.

Ukraine’s business would be encouraged to make use of opportunities opened up by the free trade agreement with the European Union (EU), he said.

Abromavičius also mentioned the reduction of burdens for business development and the reform of state-owned companies among his key tasks.

“First of all, it’s deregulation. There is an enormous number of documents, an enormous number of various agencies, which should be abolished, closed down, merged… Second, it’s the governance reform of state-owned companies. To achieve this goal, I will also make ample use of experience acquired in Lithuania to enhance transparency in supervisory councils, to carry out normal audits of all companies,” he said.

Ukraine had 3,300 state-owned companies, which had a workforce of 1.1 million and suffered huge losses, new minister said.

“All of that has to be reformed, the companies have not been audited and their directors do whatever they want. To sum up, we have a huge task ahead in making all these things transparent, public,” Abromavičius said.

Ukraine’s economic situation was complicated now, he said, adding that the economy would shrink by approximately 7 percent this year instead of projected 10 percent.

He also spoke about the weakened influence of oligarchs as a result of the crisis and geopolitical conflict.

“Thanks God, many of the oligarchs have got weaker, less influential in the course of this economic crisis and geopolitical conflict. We hope that competition will get ever stronger in all economic sectors and in several years’ time we will stop speaking about some huge oligarchic structures, which are strongly interfering with politics,” Abromavičius said.

Ukraine’s Supreme Rada on Tuesday appointed Abromavičius as the country’s new economy minister. He was also granted the Ukrainian citizenship.

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