Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big day under the big top tomorrow

On Tuesday an important packet of anti-crisis proposals will be voted on in the VR. These may well open the door to the second tranche of IMF funds required to prevent the Ukrainian economy 'going down the tubes'.

Even though there has been much talk of PoR blocking parliament by their spokesmen, the chances of a successful voting outcome are fair, despite the unpredictability of Ukraine's politicos.

'Segodnya' claims PoR will permit voting to take place, and the 17 pro-Yushchenko 'yedynotsentrysty' controlled by presidential secretariat head Viktor Baloha will also, most likely, vote to support the motions. Excise duties and other taxes, particularly on small businesses will be increased. BYuT have had to promise to support Yushchenko's Oleh Shamshur, Ukraine's ambassador in Washington, for the Minister of Foreign Affairs post as a quid pro quo.

Maybe deputies are realizing how deep in the doodoo the country really is.

p.s. President Yushchenko has decided at a late hour to drop by the VR tomorrow too. I hope he doesn't not mess things up.

1 comment:

elmer said...

This is absolutely hideous.

It is obscene.

And after all that nice talk from "president" Yushchenko about how everyone ought to cooperate to get through the crisis.

It looks like President Baloha, er, Yushchenko, is willing to let Ukraine go to hell in a handbasket, just so he can bring Tymoshenko down.

This is sickening.


Rada rejects three of five crisis bills
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, March 31 – Parliament on Tuesday rejected three out of five anti-crisis bills submitted by the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, sending a mixed signal to the International Monetary Fund over future lending.

The approval of all bills was seen as crucial to prospects for the IMF to send a team to Kiev to see whether $1.85 billion installment can be disbursed to Ukraine within the $12.4 billion rescue package it approved last year.

“We’re not sure that the IMF team can return to Ukraine unless all conditions of the joint program are met,” Tymoshenko said after the vote.

The hryvnia lost value against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday amid concerns the IMF may further delay the installment. The hryvnia closed at 8.20-8.30 to the dollar in trading between commercial banks, dealers said.

The two bills that have been approved by Parliament call for hiking excise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol are aimed at increasing budget revenue. The bills rejected include measures aimed at boosting revenue of the Pension Fund, the state-operated social security agency.

The IMF, in a statement issued shortly after the vote, praised the approval of the two bills, but suggested more must be done for Ukraine to resume its cooperation with the lender.

“We welcome the measures on excise taxes passed today by Parliament as part of the government’s anti-crisis package,” Cayla Pazarbasioglu, the IMF mission chief to Ukraine, said in the statement.

“It is now important that measures are taken to prevent the projected deficit of the Pension Fund,” Pazarbasioglu said. “We remain in close consultations with the authorities on these and other issues.”

Ukraine counts on the IMF lending for avoiding default on foreign debt obligations this year and next as credit crunch has been making it difficult to borrow from markets worldwide.

Ukraine already received $4.5 billion installment in December, but further was postponed after the government had failed to secure implementation of anti-crisis measures earlier agreed with the IMF.

The IMF was especially concerned that falling budget revenue had been widening budget deficit dramatically, while the government’s plans to rely on borrowing from the NBU would only make the situation worse.

The failure to approve the anti-crisis bills is a setback for Tymoshenko underscoring the fact that her government does not control the majority in the 450-seat Parliament.

Tymoshenko attacked President Viktor Yushchenko for not backing the government’s anti-crisis measures as a small group of lawmakers, thought to be loyal to the president, had failed to support the bills.

“We thought the president is responsible for the situation in the country and that the presidential team will back the bills,” Tymoshenko said. “Unfortunately, this did not happen.”

Tymoshenko, who never admits publicly that the coalition in fact lacks the majority as this may open door for early parliamentary election, said she will hold consultations with Yushchenko on whether the bills can be approved later this week.

But Yushchenko’s chief of staff, Viktor Baloha, said that the vote underscores Tymoshenko’s failure to build the viable coalition, and said the government probably must resign.

“Obviously, the government did not find sufficient arguments for approval of the bills,” Baloha said in a statement. “The vote underscored Tymoshenko’s long-time problem: the Cabinet of Ministers, in conflict with the constitution, is not backed by the majority.”

“So, perhaps, it’s time to stop seeking who to blame and to honestly admit the absurd of the situation and to resign to try to regain the power through new election,” Baloha said. “This would at least let Tymoshenko save the face.” (tl/ez)