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Self-Help lawmaker: freeze hike in utility bills

A half of Ukrainian families find themselves below the poverty line.

Self-Help lawmaker: freeze hike in utility bills
Alyona Babak (right) and Sonya Koshkina, the roundtable moderator
Photo: Photo: Max Trebukhov

MP Alyona Babak (Self-Help) suggested to freeze the growth of public services.

Speaking at the organized by the Gorshenin Institute round table conference Will Ukrainians survive the next hike in utility tariffs? Babak admitted that the first significant increase in household gas tariffs in 2015 was economically justified, because the state has not been able to finance Naftogaz any more.

"Today's price increase cannot be described as economically justified. Over the past two years, the payment ability of Ukrainian citizens dwindled 25.4%, and the number of workers below the poverty line has increased from 19.6% to 52.3% over the past three years. As the poverty growing, a raise the cost of staple services is just unacceptable. It is an erroneous policy of the state," Babak said.

"Every second family, according to government forecasts, will live on targeted subsidies," the indignant lawmaker said.

In her opinion, in these circumstances the state has to work in two directions - to facilitate growth of incomes and freeze the increase in living costs.

"In our case, such costs are the costs of transport and utility services. Everything else is market relations, where the state has little impact on formation of prices," said Babak.

On 1 May, Ukraine has set a unified price of gas for households and corporate sector.