Last week, the favorite fun of Ukrainian experts received another start - to discuss a possible tranche of a loan from the International Monetary Fund. As usual, few optimists of the IMF money reacted rather scornfully: “they lived without them, and we still will live”. The majority of pessimists, on the contrary, painted a sad prospect for Ukraine, which could result in a default.
Bad news from all sides
The reason for the revitalization of the discussion was the information that at the end of July the IMF approved the plan of Ukraine to create an Anti-Corruption Court. With this news and. about. Finance Minister Oksana Markarova hurried into public space. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, she stated: “We have a good discussion now: the Anti-Corruption Court was adopted ... and we also have very constructive discussions on the budget and gas prices” (quoted in the REGNUM news agency).
However, the good news ends there. But there are two bad ones, and both from the same monetary fund. First, the deputy director of the IMF’s fiscal department, Juan Toro, suggested that Ukraine reconsider its anti-smuggling strategy.
At a meeting with acting Miroslav Prodan Toro, head of the State Fiscal Service, said: “There are problems in the so-called greenery: smuggling is carried by air on hang gliders, dronestransported underground. Thus, the representative of the fund outlined a new range of requirements, which can now restrain credit tranches.
Secondly, against the backdrop of a new anti-smuggling theme, the IMF continues to insist that the Ukrainian government raise gas prices “to the level of import parity” - about a third higher than the current consumer price. For Kiev, this is an extremely heavy requirement.
In the Ukrainian budget there are no funds for the payment of additional subsidies to the population due to the increase in gas prices. According to the results of the first half of the year, a hole in 9,78 billion hryvnias has already formed in it, moreover, that during the corresponding period of last year the budget was reduced with a surplus of 29 billions.
Channel NewsOne, citing data from Verkhovna Rada deputy Yuri Pavlenko, cited depressing numbers. For the first half of the year, the lack of funding for social programs amounted to 41 billion hryvnia (more than 1,5 billion dollars). This amount is already close to the size of the expected tranche ($ 1,8 billion).
How ordinary Ukrainians get out in this situation can be seen from the June statistics of the National Bank of Ukraine. People began to actively spend their savings. For the month (by the way, during the holidays, when tourists buy foreign currency for their trips) the net sales of currency by the population (excess over purchase) to banks amounted to 269 million US dollars.
Marginal public solves their problems in a very barbaric way. Local media outlets have reportedly increased the number of children selling to their parents. 4 August, on her Facebook page, the Ombudsman for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova wrote that only in July there were three such cases. The same - in June.
In August, the trend continued. Last Friday, a local woman was detained in the Transcarpathian Mukachevo, who was trying to sell her three-year-old son to collect alms. The woman was detained in the transfer of money. Now she faces not only deprivation of parental rights, but also a real prison sentence - up to 15 years.
The moratorium on gas can not be infinite
The government of Vladimir Groysman realizes how much a heavy burden for the economy and people will be the increase in gas prices. It determined for itself the maximum possible price increase of eighteen percent, and even this increase did not go in April, as demanded by the IMF, but imposed a moratorium until June 1. Then he extended it to August 1, now to September 1.
Experts say that the moratorium on the price of gas "can not be infinite." First of all, because without this option, the IMF will not move from its credit pause. Some experts go further in their assessments. They believe that in the run-up to the elections and the uncertainty caused by them in the country, international financial institutions will find more and more new reasons to justify their passivity in Ukraine.
For this, by the way, there is a basic condition - the unconditional implementation of the Minsk agreements. Financiers about them until the time keep quiet, pushing the topic on politicians. Although the war in the Donbass has a direct impact on the entire Ukrainian economy and its budget spending.
Last week, for example, through the portal Ukrainian Military Pages it became known about the letter of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak to Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. Poltorak notified the prime minister that, in the first half of the year, 11 thousand officers and contractors had left the Ukrainian army.
The reason for the mass exodus of servicemen from the Armed Forces of Ukraine lies in the insufficient financial support. When the so-called anti-terrorist operation in the Donbas was started, President Petro Poroshenko promised its participants thirty thousand hryvnia per month.
In reality, the salary of servicemen of the first year of service did not exceed 7,5 thousand hryvnia (17,5 thousand rubles). Contractors Poroshenko called "liars", but the military strap somehow pulled, while the allowance in the army did not lag behind the average salary in Ukraine (8,7 thousand hryvnia).
It was then that the people knocked out of the APU. According to Poltorak, by the end of the year 18 thousands of officers and contract servicemen will leave the Ukrainian army. Experts say that these are four full-fledged brigades. In order to preserve the personnel potential and attract new forces to the military service, the Minister of Defense asked the prime minister for additional funding in order to raise the minimum allowance to ordinary soldiers to 1 thousand hryvnias (9 thousand rubles) and officers to 20,9 thousand hryvnias (15,3 thousand) rub.).
The media do not report on the Prime Minister’s reaction to the letter of the head of the military department, but everyone agrees that without the IMF tranche, the budget doesn’t attract additional expenses to the army. As we see, he is already overloaded with wastes and does not make ends meet. What is now enthusiastically and argue local experts.
These disputes do not touch on one important topic - the specific phased implementation of the Minsk agreements. It seems that in Ukraine this topic is under a deep ban. In the daily controversy there are a lot of words about the “aggressor state of Russia”, and there are no proposals for negotiations with representatives of the Donbass that could put an end to the conflict in the country.
But all actively vanguyut about credit handouts of international financial institutions. As if this money will solve all the accumulated problems of the country. But not only accumulated problems. On the 112.Ukraine television channel, former Ukrainian deputy Ivan Zhuravsky said that today every Ukrainian owes the IMF about 120 thousand hryvnia. Over the past year, this debt has almost doubled.
Zhuravsky was accused of lying and data fraud. However, no one decided to dispute the increase in the state debt of Ukraine, rightly believing that the new credit tranches (if they take place) would raise this debt to a new height and lay an additional burden on ordinary Ukrainians. Today it is probably the main indisputable reality.
Ukraine is learning to live without money
- Gennady Granovsky
- Photos used: