Ukraine’s Sheremeta offers to go

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iol news pic DON11_UKRAINE-CRISIS-_0812_11 Reuters People walk past a closed street market in central Donetsk, Ukraine. Picture: Sergei Karpukhin

Kiev - Ukrainian Economy Minister Pavlo Sheremeta said on Thursday he had tendered his resignation and voiced frustration at not being able to push ahead with much-needed economic reform.

After months of fighting in its eastern regions following the toppling of a government blighted by corruption and economic mismanagement, Ukraine's economy has contracted sharply, even with a multi-billion dollar financial lifeline from the International Monetary Fund.

Sheremeta had vowed to slash red tape and eliminate corrupt practices that have helped to virtually bankrupt Ukraine when he was appointed soon after the ousting of a Moscow-backed president in February.

But he has not managed to push substantive legislation through parliament.

In a sign of frustration at the lack of broad support for reform, Sheremeta said on his Facebook page that he no longer wanted to “fight against yesterday's system”.

Sheremeta's offer to resign follows comments from Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk on Wednesday that voiced dissatisfaction with the speed and depths of reforms.

Parliament, which is still packed with many former supporters of ex-President Viktor Yanukovich, has managed to pass legislation on taxation and sanctions on Russia in recent weeks - but only after being bullied by Yatseniuk who at one point also threatened to resign over the legislature's inaction.

The post of economy minister was the first political appointment for Sheremeta, a former economics academic.

“There are serious and solid reasons for this resignation... It’s a good example of how very talented, popular economic commentators, are not necessarily effective reformers,” Kiev-based political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko said.

Sheremeta's resignation will have to be approved by parliament. This might be one of the last acts of the current parliament which is likely to be dissolved next week, paving the way for a new election in October. - Reuters


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