Atlantic Council: Zelensky’s Team Must Sell Off The Land and State Enterprises in the Autumn

The Atlantic Council gave the next portion of instructions to Kiev and the EU

In Ukraine the work of the new parliament will begin very soon. In this regard the Atlantic Council American analytical center could not stand aside. They already got used to giving instructions to Ukraine publicly, without hesitating.

“On August 29, the newly-elected Ukrainian parliament will convene. The country has a unique chance for change that rests mainly with the president, parliament, and soon-to-be appointed government, but the West has a significant role to play. Ukraine will have a window of opportunity for profound reform, but such windows are rarely open for long. The West needs to stand up and deliver while it is open,” wrote the author of the article, the senior research associate of the Atlantic Council, the Swedish economist and former diplomat Anders Aslund.

The website notes that the Ukrainian president and his team want to undertake all reforms very quickly. Among such planned reforms there is the cancellation of parliamentary immunity, the reform of the prosecutor’s office, the liquidation of department “K” in the SBU, which investigates organised crime and corruption, and the cancellation of the moratorium on the land. At the same time, the author advises not to worry concerning the speed of reforms – everything goes according to plan. Concerning this, Anders Aslund is most of all disturbed by the Venice Commission, because “judges from dictatorships like Azerbaijan and Russia are members”. This commission, according to the author, in general considers each issue too slowly and carefully, therefore the Atlantic Council advises: “Ukraine should stop consulting this flawed organization. Other purely western organizations, the European Union or the G-7, should take its place”.

Concerning the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land, the Swedish economist is adamant: “It is time to stop this charade”.

The World Bank, the international organization in charge of land reform advice, needs to support swift reform.

The next issue is the privatisation of state enterprises. In Ukraine, according to the Atlantic Council, there are 3350 of them there.

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It is possible to leave 100 of the largest in state ownership, and to urgently put the others up for auction. “The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, and USAID should carefully advise this process,” the author adds, as the process cannot be left unchecked.

The next topic, according to Aslund, is relations with the IMF.

As soon as a new government has been formed, hopefully in September, the IMF should negotiate a three or four-year agreement (called an extended fund facility in IMF language) offering Ukraine credits of at least $2 billion a year. Ukraine has already secured macroeconomic stability, but the National Bank and the Finance Ministry need moral, technical, and financial support to keep it up.

The senior research associate of the Atlantic Council assumes that all these reforms can be undertaken in Ukraine during the autumn, then it will be possible to move on to investment in the winter. The public sector will be undertaken by the World Bank, the EBRD, and the European Investment Bank, and the export-import bank of the US, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and various western credit and insurance institutions will invest in the private sector.

All of this is reminiscent of the classics: in the morning – money, in the evening – chairs.

Concerning education and health care, the author tolerantly notes that they, of course, are very important, however so far there isn’t enough time or funds for them.

Needless to say, there are also plenty of tasks for the European Union and bilateral assistance agencies such as the UK’s Department for International Development and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. This might be Ukraine’s greatest chance yet. The West needs to assist as well as it can.

To put it briefly, before the cold weather the new Ukrainian authorities should auction off the land and other assets, and the IMF will give $2 billion a year as moral support. As a loan, of course.

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