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16 October 2019

Ukraine Roundup – October Issue

Ukrainian parliament cancels restrictions on privatization

On 2 October, Ukrainian MPs voted to cancel a range of longstanding restrictions on privatization, paving the way for what policy-makers promise will be a new wave of privatization in the country. The bill passed comfortably, attracting 250 votes as the ruling Servant of the People’s one-party majority continued to guarantee parliamentary confirmation for the government’s reformist agenda. A number of strategic categories remain on the restricted list of objects that are not subject to privatization. This includes roads, metro systems, gas transmission systems and other key infrastructure elements.

Ukraine passes new concession law paving way for public-private partnership boom

Ukrainian MPs voted for a new concession bill in early October that should help facilitate private sector investment in the country’s seaports, airports, highways and other state-owned infrastructure objects. The new legislation will replace a number of different and often conflicting laws that had previously acted as de facto obstacles to private investment in Ukrainian infrastructure projects and blocked the development of public-private partnerships (PPPs). The incoming Ukrainian authorities are seeking to facilitate greater international investment into major infrastructure projects as part of efforts to modernize the country and build on Ukraine’s natural advantages as a key transport corridor connecting the European Union to Asian and Middle Eastern markets. The new concession law is set to enter into force by the end of the current year, opening the door to a flurry of PPP activity in 2020. Early concession focuses will include Ukraine’s ports and highways.

Cabinet approves gambling bill that opens door for the return of gambling to Ukraine

Ten years since the country’s gambling houses shut down, Ukraine is once again on the verge of legalizing gambling. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a new gambling industry bill at the end of September 2019 that would allow betting houses, online betting, online- and offline casinos, slot machines halls and poker. Gambling legalisation will allow international players and local participants to operate on the market after obtaining licenses via electronic auction. It is expected that the number of licenses will be limited. The licenses will be issued by the Gambling Authority, a new regulatory body to be created by the Government. If the gambling bill passes the Parliament, the return of the gambling industry to Ukraine will generate considerable budget revenues while also serving as an additional tourist attraction at a time when Ukraine is looking to improve its visibility on the international tourism radar.

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