In a statement released on March 1, representatives of the leading agricultural associations in Ukraine appealed to the Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov to urgently adopt a number of laws to fight corruption in the agricultural sector of the country, reports Ukrainska Pravda, citing LigaBiznesInform.
According to the statement, more than a billion USD was spent as direct subsidies for Ukraine’s agricultural sector in 2013. With the average bribe set at 20%, losses from corruption are estimated to top 200 million UAH. The statement also points out that subsidies are given only to those businesses whose owner have been able to corrupt the appropriate officials.
“It is practically impossible for average farmers to obtain needed funds since all decisions on subsidies are made on the basis of a whole number of obscure criteria,” the statement says. Unofficially farmers report that the subsidies they do manage to obtain are about 15-25% lower than the officially allocated sums.
According to Yuriy Hordeychuk, general director of the agricultural conglomerate Volary-Trade, “bribery and theft in the allocation of budgetary subsidies to agricultural producers are an established fact. Money that should be used for the development of the agricultural sector ends up in the pockets of officials,” he said.
He emphasized that the system of subsidy distribution needs to change fundamentally, to become more transparent and under the control of market participants. Clear, unambiguous criteria for participation in government support must be established to facilitate access to financial resources for agricultural producers. “Only then will our agriculture receive a major boost to development,” Hordeychuk concluded.
Translated by Anna Mostovych