- “I believe that he will be able to give an impetus to the National Reform Council and help make important changes in the life of the country,” Mr. Zelensky said.
- Saakashvili has served twice as President of Georgia and is wanted for abuse of power and embezzlement.
- Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have shifted to a new lending program.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appointed the former President of Georgia, and the head of the Odessa Regional State Administration, Mikheil Saakashvili as the Chairman of the Executive Committee for Reforms. This is stated in the decree, “Issues of the National Council of Reforms and the Executive Committee of Reforms,” signed by Zelensky on Thursday, May 7.
“I believe that he will be able to give an impetus to the National Reform Council and help make important changes in the life of the country,” Mr. Zelensky was quoted as saying by the President’s Office. Zelensky also made Oleksandr Olshansky deputy chairman of the Executive Committee for Reforms.
The document amends presidential decrees on a unified state reform policy in Ukraine, ensuring the activities of the National Reform Council and the Executive Committee of Reforms, and regulations on the National Reform Council. The decree comes into force from the day of its publication.
Mikhail Saakashvili has served twice as President of Georgia, from 2004 to 2007, and from 2008 to 2013. He is one of the leaders of the Rose Revolution. Saakashvili is also accused by Georgia of abuse of power and embezzlement of budget funds. Saakashvili rejects all allegations in his address.
After the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych’s regime, Saakashvili was the head of the Odessa Regional State Administration in 2015-2016. Subsequently, Petro Poroshenko stripped him of his earlier citizenship, and Saakashvili himself was expelled from Ukraine in 2018.
On April 22, Saakashvili stated that he had received a proposal from the Ukraine’s new President, Zelensky, to become Deputy Prime Minister for Reform. On April 30, David Arakhamyi, leader of the president’s Servant of the People party in the Ukrainian Parliament, said that a new format of work had been found for Saakashvili in Ukraine. Araham did not name a specific position.
IMF Changes Ukraine’s Lending Program
As part of the negotiations on a new cooperation program, Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have shifted from a previously agreed three-year EFF Extended Financing Program to an 18-month Stand-By Program. This was announced on Thursday, May 7, by IMF spokesman Gerry Rice.
“Given an unprecedented uncertainty surrounding the economic and financial outlook and the need to focus policy priorities on new-term containment and stabilization, negotiations have shifted to this 18-month Stand-By Arrangement,” he said.
According to Rice, the fund is in close contact with the Ukrainian authorities to discuss the parameters of a new funding mechanism that would help the country effectively combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the economy and medicine.
“Once the situation recovers, the focus may shift again to addressing long-term structural reforms in Ukraine to promote stronger and more inclusive growth,” a fund spokesman said. The amount of the program is still unknown
In early December 2019, President Zelensky, the National Bank of Ukraine, and the previous government agreed with the IMF to open a new three-year EFF program worth $5.5 billion. There is no information yet on the size of the new stand-by program, which Ukraine and the IMF have switched to discussing.