After a conference held in Kiev on Tuesday to drum up investment in Ukraine, at which Ukrainian Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk asked for a "Marshall Plan," of investment, the Austrian contingent of investors returned with few intentions to sink their money in the country, writes the Austrian broadsheet Die Presse.
"The colorful brochures in which the government describes progress on anti-corruption, privatization and the investment climate look professionally done — and must have cost a lot. But the situation on the ground is extremely tough."
The already low purchasing power of Ukrainian consumers has been compounded by the dramatic fall in the value of the national currency, the hryvnia, and the government's recent decision to raise utility prices, writes the newspaper, while little progress has been made by the government to undergo its promised reforms.
To date, no-one has been appointed to head the proposed state agency for privatization, conference delegates remarked to Die Presse, commenting that even Ukrainian Trade Minister Aivaras Abromavičius has complained about opposition to reform among state enterprises, which "don't work for the nation, but for individuals."
"A lot has to be improved," said Hermann Ortner, an Austrian delegate to Tuesday's Conference, commenting that measures such as the prohibition by Ukraine's Central Bank on investors from taking their dividends out of the country "are not conducive" to investment.
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk "is known for foolhardy statements," writes the paper, reporting his welcoming remarks that "we really need a Marshall Plan." A US representative replied that that measure was "from a different time," while the response from other delegates was likewise reticent; the conference ended with no concrete business deals.