PM backs merging all state-owned, municipal enterprises in separate holding, dividing Ukrzaliznytsia

Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk has said that the new Cabinet of Ministers plans to withdraw all state-owned enterprises (SOE) and municipal enterprises from coordination of ministries.

"We are now thinking of creating a public holding company that would remove all these SOE and municipal enterprises from coordination of the ministries. So that each minister does not have these bunches hanging on his balance sheet. This needs to be taken away from the Cabinet of Ministers. Politicians should not do this at all. It should be a separate management. And we have a preliminary agreement with a strong personality who will lead the process of creating this holding," Honcharuk said at a meeting with reporters in Kyiv on Friday.

He also said that he considered it necessary to conduct the so-called "big privatization."

"My personal position is: the smaller the state in the economy, the better. Of course, there will remain enterprises that are strategic – for example, Ukrzaliznytsia. There is a part that cannot be privatized –railways," he said.

At the same time, Honcharuk considers it logical to divide Ukrzaliznytsia into three operators, only one of which should remain in state ownership. "It should be divided. There is a model where an enterprise is divided into three different operators. This is a separate and very complicated story. What can be a natural monopoly, where there can be no competitive market, can be left to the state. And then I would bring private capital there for a minority stake, so that it stimulates development," the prime minister said.

He also said that the government already has a candidacy for the post of head of the State Property Fund, but refused to give a specific name, referring to the fact that the final agreement has not yet been reached.

Honcharuk also announced the possible transfer of CEO of Ukrposhta Igor Smelyansky to a new, more ambitious position.