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Ukraine’s economy minister resigns

Kiev - Ukraine's economy minister announced his resignation on Thursday following conflict within the government on how to turn around the dire national economic situation.

“Instead of continuing to fight yesterday's system, I have decided to focus on working with the people of tomorrow,” Pavlo Sheremeta wrote on his Facebook page.

Ukraine's economy minister Pavlo Sheremeta. Credit: Reuters

Politically inexperienced Sheremeta, 43, was appointed on February 27 as economy minister in the government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, days after former leader Viktor Yanukovych was ousted.

Since then, Ukraine's ailing economy has continued deeper into crisis.

Fierce fighting in the east between government forces and pro-Russia rebels has added to pressures on the economy, and caused the national currency to plunge to a record low against the dollar.

Ukraine has now been in underlying recession for more than two years, with business activity contracting by 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2014.

Sheremeta - a western-educated economist - had a number of disagreements with Yatsenyuk, who lashed out over the slow pace of economic reforms needed if the country is to receive a fresh $1.4 billion (R15 billion) instalment of desperately-needed financial aid from the International Monetary Fund on August 29.

“I am not pleased with the speed and depth of these reforms,” he said at a government meeting on Wednesday.”

The cabinet then also appointed a trade representative ahead of key talks next week with the Russian led customs union and EU officials, a move that further infuriated Sheremeta.

Sheremeta is the latest official who to resign this month after being swept into government on the back of months of bloody protests which threw Yanukovych out of office.

Earlier this week, campaigning journalist turned anti-graft chief Tetyana Chornovol said she was stepping down over a “lack of political will” from new leaders in Kiev to battle corruption. - Sapa-AFP

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