Dear Ukraine, 

 "We are big, strong, and free country.

  Our goal is to make a real NEXT BIG STEP towards a better life.

  We are only on the middle road.

  We should pull our efforts together.

  We should believe in ourselves.

  We should move forward.

  Glory to Ukraine!

  Thank you for your attention."

              — President Yuschenko 

The Next Big Step:  Fairness and Prosperity for All Ukraine

On March 31, 2009, I outlined the “Next Big Step” to bring fairness and prosperity for all Ukraine.  Below are the specific proposals I am advocating to move our nation forward:

 

Economic Action Plan

  • Restore financial stability in the country.
  • Pass a realistic state budget for 2009 that reduces inflation and stabilizes the hryvna.
  • Guaranteed funding for key social protection programs. 
  • Ensure that monies in the State Stabilization Fund are used ONLY for infrastructure and investment in Ukraine rather than for wage arrears caused by government mismanagement.
  • Support the banking system by having the State assume responsibility for banks that are in bad shape and return them to financial stability.
  • Maintenance of a stable hryvna exchange rate to ensure stability for workers. 
  • Support Ukrainian domestic producers through bank loans and increased purchases of their products and services.
  • Develop a public refinancing program for banks managed by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU).
  • Ensure appropriate credit for strategic projects undertaken by private capital including Euro 2012, infrastructure, transportation, communications and energy.
  • Rejuvenate rural areas by eliminating state interference in agriculture production.
  • Assist agriculture by supporting market prices for products such as grain, meat and sunflower oil.  We can no longer allow 6 million tons of our grain to rot while politicians play political games with prices.
  • Protect our markets from low quality and cheap imports by keeping in place customs duties for meat and other products.
  • Promote Ukrainian products abroad to increase sales for our producers.
  • Remove the moratorium on land sales to create wealth in rural areas, eliminate modern day serfdom and save our agricultural sphere from collapse.
  • Simplify constraints on starting businesses while ensuring payment of taxes to fund our social priorities.
  • Have Parliament pass the legislative changes recommended from the Forum “The Government and Business as Partners” which is still pending.
  • European Union membership and increased trade while simultaneously improving relations and trade with our Russian neighbors.
  • Strengthen local governments by allowing them to tax the real estate of wealthy individuals with the proceeds being used for local infrastructure needs.

Government Reform Program

  • Restore voter’s rights to elect members of parliament from the areas where they live.
  • Open up party lists for both parliamentary and local elections.
  • Create a bicameral parliament to bring stability to our legislative branch.  Each oblast will be given 3 Senators to ensure equal representation in the senior branch as well as restoring a direct tie to the voters of each oblast. 
  • Reduce the number of members of parliament.
  • Abolish parliamentary immunity.
  • Equitably and effectively reform administrative and territorial divisions with community input.
  • Have Parliament pass the draft law “About the Judiciary and the Status of Judges” which is still pending.  This will install a transparent procedure for the selection of judges, increase their independence and strengthen their responsibilities. 

Social Fairness Proposals

  • Just pension reform based solely on the number of years of work and salary received.  Ukraine can no longer pay 20,000 hrynva per month pensions to members of parliament and other former government officials.
  • Eliminate subsidies for communal services of wealthy individuals.  It is not fair for a babushka with one light bulb to pay the same for utilities that a rich man pays for his private home with a Jacuzzi. 
  • Have Parliament adopt a new Criminal Procedure Code to make the law “one for all”.
  • Ensure that law enforcement protects the rights of innocent citizens during the pre-trial investigation period.

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Speech Highlights

Economic Action Plan

Government Reform Program

Social Fairness Proposals