Andrey Lubensky: Ukraine may experience a catastrophe in 2005

The specialists who studied the situation with Ukraine’s economic infrastructure came to conclusion that the deterioration of the life-support systems in the country would reach the limit by the year 2005, and this may result in catastrophic consequences. The research was done on the initiative of Ukraine’s Social and Democratic party. Alexander Zinchenko, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the party, announced the plans to establish the Committee of 2005. The committee will deal with the development of preventive measures in order to avoid the technical catastrophe. Zinchinko stated that the deterioration of the basic industrial funds in the country made up 42.8%, while the coefficient of their renewal halved over the last five years. The situation is really alarming in the fuel and energy complex, as 96% of the power generating units at the electric power plants are totally worn out.

The situation in industry, in the road and transport complex, and in the field of public utilities leaves very much to be desired. Ukraine’s public debt is growing (it is projected to raise from $1.2 billion this year to $1.6 billion by 2005). The worsening of the demographic situation and other problems will considerably complicate the struggle with the coming crisis. In addition, there is concern that no one cares to look into this matter. Alexander Zinchenko is talking about the forthcoming political elections in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s socialists offered the development of high-tech industrial branches in their program as a way out of the situation: the renewal could be achieved towards the production and realization of the competitive technological products. The leftist parties of Ukraine also lay their hope on the market's self-regulation, offering to set up an organization that would project and schedule the inter-branch balance within a very short period of time and to assist Ukrainian enterprises in their structural re-organization.

There is an impression though that the “left” and the "right” are talking about one and the same thing without listening to each other. It will be very bad if the real threat of a man-made disaster does not move the Ukrainian political elite to anything but the use of the new “trump card” in the pre-election campaign.

We will not say that the cabinet of ministers does not realize the issue. However, the changing governments have not done anything yet to solve the problem. The government has recently approved of the “program for development of the investment activity for 2002-2010,” which gives a hope there will be some progress in this respect. Alexander Shlapak (the Minister for Economy) stated that the growth of investments in the basic industrial capital had already increased 20% last year; this trend was preserved this year too. The program envisages the growth of the investment volumes in the basic capital - up to 15% of the Gross Domestic Product. However, nobody knows if this is enough to prevent a technical collapse.

Andrey Lubensky PRAVDA.Ru Ukraine

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