KIEV, Jan. 24 – Ukraine will pursue sound economic policy and privatization to encourage foreign investors to join major infrastructure, oil, steel and telecom projects, President Viktor Yushchenko said in Davos on Thursday.
“Ukraine did not come to Davos with an empty portfolio,” Yushchenko said addressing investors at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “Ukraine is pursuing an active economic policy that allows a great dialog with businesses.”
Investments in the energy sector, including construction of new oil and natural gas pipelines across its territory, as well as building a new, modern oil refinery, are the government’s priority.
“We are talking about the number of projects that may trigger an international interest,” Yushchenko said. “We are talking about transportation of Caspian oil to markets in the EU and about the construction of a new oil refinery that would refine Caspian oil.”
The government has two years ago revealed the plan to build an oil refinery in Brody capable of refining up to 8 million metric tons of crude oil.
The plan was revealed by the government of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in 2005, but it was tabled by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who has been relying mostly on Russian oil.
Now, after the pro-Western government has been created last month following the Sept. 30, 2007 snap election, the project will probably be accelerated, according to Yushchenko.
The location of the refinery, near the border with the European Union, is strategic to ensure the company has the market for its gasoline.
But it also creates a major demand for the Caspian oil, which can be easily moved via Odessa-to-Brody oil pipeline, even without waiting until a new section of the pipeline is built to move the oil to a Polish oil refinery.
Yushchenko also said that Ukraine will revive transparent privatization auctions to sell its state assets, but said the sell-off list will include steel and telecom assets.
He mentioned a major deposit of iron ore near Kryviy Rih and UkrTelekom, the national phone company, which has been recently expanding in
“These are the projects, these are the ideas that we hold discussions about with businesses that want to operate in Ukraine,” Yushchenko said.
Major infrastructure projects, such as construction of highways, airports and stadium, will also get support from the government as Ukraine, jointly with Poland, prepares to hold the Euro-2012, a top European soccer tournament.
“This is a wonderful field for the development of concrete projects and investments,” Yushchenko said.
Yushchenko also highlighted Ukraine’s politics as mature enough to resolve major conflicts through talks and elections, rather than deepening confrontation. He pointed to the major political crisis last year and its eventual solution via the snap election as the major point.
“For the second time over the past three years Ukraine confirms that despite all contradictions that may take place in Ukrainian politics, we have such a basis for democracy that allow us in democratic way to resolve any political conflict,” Yushchenko said. “This is extremely important.” (tl/ez)