KYIV, Sept. 10 – Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman on Monday vowed to acceleration battle against corruption and pointed to the fact that the government had started to collect more money after improving transparency at customs services.
Groysman’s remarks come after top prosecutor had alleged that the prime minister’s close ally in the government may be have been connected to controversial operation at the State Fiscal Service.
The government last week dismissed Myroslav Prodan, an acting head of the service and a Groysman ally, amid allegations that it has been harboring practices to conceal illegal imports.
“Everyone who makes the country poorer has to feel the inevitability of change and our principled position," Groysman said. “I declared a direct war on this smuggling, and this is not a billion more or a billion less. This is the question of the country's strength.”
He said his government managed to boost tax revenue from imports by UAH 1.5 billion per day, and vowed to continue to collect higher revenue by curtailing corruption.
"I know for sure that this is not the limit," Groysman said. "Our task is to make Ukraine stronger, and either we are able to work in these conditions, or we need to do personnel rotation and strengthening in order to provide growth.”
Rampant corruption in the government has been earlier described by international experts as one of the key economic problems of Ukraine, depleting its resources and stifling investment and economic growth.
Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko said earlier this year that Prodan may be connected to abuses in the office. Prodan is believed to be under preliminary investigation by special prosecutors, but had had persistently ignored subpoenas for questioning.
Groysman, on the other hands, said he had no issues with Prodan.
The International Monetary Fund earlier this year demanded that Ukraine intensify its anti-corruption program if the government wants to resume borrowing.
Ukrainian lawmakers in July approved an amendment to a law establishing an anticorruption court in an effort to secure more funding under a $17.5 billion aid-for-reforms program with the IMF.
The IMF has called the establishment of an anticorruption court a "benchmark" of Ukraine's progress toward Western legal standards, and has said it would help ease the release of its loans in the future.
Corruption was among the problems that prompted Ukrainians to take to the streets and oust a Moscow-friendly government in 2014, but it remains a major hurdle to prosperity in the ex-Soviet republic. (tl/ez)