Ukraine Lawmakers: Halt Privatizing
Nov. 04, 1997
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) _ Parliament moved to halt efforts to shed costly state enterprises by passing a resolution barring the sale of state property and demanding that President Leonid Kuchma name a new privatization chief.
The latest blow to Kuchma's beleaguered economic reforms was approved by 257 lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada, well over a simple majority in Ukraine's 450-seat legislature.
The resolution prohibits the State Property Fund from concluding contracts on the purchase or sale of state companies until a chief for the fund is named and approved by lawmakers.
The fund's acting director, Volodymyr Lanoviy, cast doubt on the power of the parliamentary order, saying in televised comments that it ``contradicts current legislation'' and vowing to continue his work.
Lanoviy said, however, that the resolution will hurt Ukraine's already bruised business image abroad and prompt ``an outflow of investment,'' the Interfax news agency reported.
He accused lawmakers of acting as the ``puppets'' of Ukrainian business executives who he said are seeking to stop sell-offs of large enterprises in order to gain control themselves.
Communists and their allies have opposed privatization, and Kuchma angered them last spring when he ignored the constitution by firing the property fund chief and naming Lanoviy without parliamentary approval.
Privatization began in Ukraine shortly after the Soviet collapse, but was halted temporarily in 1994 by a similar parliament vote. Privatization of large enterprises has been slow to get off the ground.