The end of February 2018 was marked by the victory celebration at the Ukrainian gas market as Ukrainian Naftogaz won the case on gas transit against the Russian Gazprom at the Stockholm Arbitrage Court. The Gazprom has to pay the Naftogaz USD 4.6 bn for violating the “take or pay” clause.
The year 2017 brought wins and failures. The Ukrainian Government was able to approve important reforms, which was still not sufficient to receive scheduled assistance from the IMF and the EU. 2018 will be tough as Ukraine should make large progress in many areas, while the 2019 elections are approaching.
On December 7, 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament had the day of Budget-2018. During one day, the Verkhovna Rada amended the Budget Code and Tax Code, as well as adopted the State Budget Law for 2018. The decisions were taken in a very non-transparent way with changes approved from the voice.
In 2014, the Strategic Advisory Group under the support of the Soros’s Foundation prepared the Strategy of Healthcare Reform for 2015-2020. After long debates, the laws launching the healthcare reform were approved in 2017 with first changes starting in 2018.
It became clear that Ukraine has failed to receive the third and final tranche of the MFA III. Initially, the MFA III at EUR 1.8 bn was agreed in 2015 under a number of conditionalities that envisaged 22 measures in the areas of energy, public financial management, anticorruption policy, etc.
In October, the USAID Leadership in Economic Governance (LEV) Program held its final event. The project lasted for three years and made an important contribution to the policy of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development in Ukraine.
Ukraine needs at the very least 5% annual GDP growth to catch up with neighboring countries in economic development. One option would be improved investment climate for higher FDI and domestic-sourced capital investment. Other options are limited given lack of fiscal space and aging capital assets.
Business in Ukraine is slowly recovering from the economic crisis that hit the country several years ago. Entrepreneurs have little trust to the government but plan to speed up their growth and want the authorities to provide fair and favorable conditions for businesses.
The Ministry of Finance proposed to reform customs in Ukraine with the aim of better transparency and predictability. The model of the reform and changes in custom procedures is currently debated between the Ministry of Finance and the representatives of the Parliament and civil society. The reform will hopefully be implemented by the end of 2017.
On July 10, 2017, Ryanair, the largest low-cost airline in Europe, announced that it cancels its plans to enter Ukraine due to the failure to sign the contract with Boryspil airport. The decision was a negative blow to the image of Ukraine, which tries to prove that the country is open and friendly to foreign investors.