Ukraine PM is asking the US to please buy up state assets Kiev is selling in its new sweeping privatisation drive
This article originally appeared at Forbes
Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk is lobbying Washington to convince American firms to buy up Ukraine in the country’s planned flea market of state controlled enterprises.
“The Prime Minister of Ukraine has urged U.S. partners to actively use the investment opportunities offered by the privatization campaign in Ukraine, particularly in the energy sector,” a statement posted on Ukraine’s governmental website said on Monday.
Yats met with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin recently to discuss the current state of economic reforms following an additional $1 billion pledge in official U.S. aid to the fledgling nation.
Ukraine seems to be constantly embattled. The recent Euromaidan revolution took the country out of Russia’s sphere of influence and into Europe and the U.S. “loving arms.” However, the nation is not united on Kyiv’s newfound love for the west. And despite calls for Ukraine to be more pro-actively engaged with a capitalist Europe than with a mostly state controlled Russian economy, it is unclear just how attractive the country looks to Americans right now. The hub of Ukraine’s industrial east is largely controlled by separatist groups backed, in part, by the Russian military. Although Russia denies official support (they say it's volunteer support), the AP has reported extensively on how local pro-Russia separatist groups receive off-the-reservation military aid from “Uncle Putin”.
Yats, meanwhile, is teaming with president Petro Poroshenko in leading a nation of disbelievers. Their poll numbers are in the gutter. And so if Yats thinks that selling a state asset for a dime to foreigners is going to go off without protest, then it is clear that Ukraine is not disinterested in being controlled by foreign entities after all, so long as those foreign entities do not speak Russian.
n March, the Ukrainian government approved a list of companies subject to privatization, putting up for sale predominantly energy-related firms. Natural gas giant Naftogaz was not one of them. Earlier this year, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the sale of 164 businesses slated for the auction block this year. The fund estimates the face value of these shares at 3 billion hyrvnia ($150 million) for companies that have an existing market value of 15 billion hyrvnia. Yats said that the 164 number given to him by his cabinet was too low. He wanted to increase the number to 1,200. In other words, it’s a fire sale.
Besides the $2 billion from the U.S., Ukraine is getting most of its money from the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Around $40 billion is heading their way over a four year period some in the press have likened to the Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild Europe after World War II.