Kakha Bendukidze: Ukraine Will Have to Go Through Painful Reforms to Survive, Otherwise the Country Will Be Lost

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Kyiv, 13 March 2014 – Speaking at the press briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, Georgian reformer and businessman Kakha Bendukidze said that Ukraine needs painful reforms. “Ukraine will have to go through painful reforms to survive, otherwise the country will be lost”, – said Mr. Bendukidze.

The Georgian reformer stated that Ukraine should quit the practice of subsidizing unviable enterprises which consume tremendous amounts of natural gas and make this country energy-dependent. “If you don’t abolish this terrible social policy, which includes unthoughtful subsidies, and if you don’t strengthen the army, you will have to say good bye to your country”, commented Mr. Bendukidze, “the subsidies create another black hole in the economy which devours resources and doesn’t create anything.”

Mr. Bendukidze believes that abandoning gas subsidies is the price Ukraine needs to pay for its independence. “Cheap gas is a drug you are addicted to, which you need to give up”, he commented, “the lower the gas price is, the easier it is for the enterprises to exist the way they did in the past, with no perspectives, no upgrades and no development.”

Answering the question about the need to fight corruption in Ukraine, Bendukidze said: “Gather up your courage and get rid of the things you don’t need.”

Kakha Bendukidze is a Georgian reformer, businessman and philanthropist. During 2004-2007, when he was a Minister of Economic Reforms, Georgia became the top-reforming country in the world, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business report. In particular, Georgia jumped from 137 to 11 on the ease of doing business scale.