The annual economic effect of the lifting of the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land and, as a consequence, the opening of a land market in Ukraine will amount to almost $1.5 billion, Co-chair of the group of strategic advisers on support of reform in Ukraine Ivan Miklos told a press conference.
”The World Bank estimates that you have some great potential. If the land market is opened, the annual economic benefit for Ukraine will amount to almost $1.5 billion in the form of additional investment, income of land owners, and so on,” he said.
According to Miklos, the Ukrainian government understands this and supports the idea of opening the land market, but advocates the idea of its gradual introduction.
”The prime minister suggests adopting the law, which would create conditions for a gradual introduction of the land market… We`re now creating a working group with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the World Bank, the Ukrainian experts from the National Academy of Sciences,” the adviser said.
According to him, the newly formed group will develop a relevant bill, which will provide a background for the most painless lifting the moratorium on farmland sale.
At the same time, Miklos said he did not agree with a number of experts, who argued that the lifting of the moratorium wou.d lead to villagers being deprived of their land, which was to be purchased en masse by foreign companies. As an example, he cited the experience of Slovakia.
”In Slovakia, a moratorium had been introduced for 10 years. It was canceled two years ago – and nothing [bad] happened. Only 5-7% of the land is owned by foreigners,” Miklos said, adding that the land market will help attract significant investment in the economy.
According to the strategic adviser, the foreign investor who wants to buy Ukrainian land has to create a legal company in Ukraine that will operate lawfully. Moreover, the belief that after the opening of the land market the villagers will immediately start selling their shares for a song is incorrect, Miklos said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on October 6, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine extended the moratorium imposed in 2001 on the sales of agricultural land until 2018. On October 28, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed into law a bill on prolongation of a moratorium on the sale and purchase of arable land in Ukraine until 2018.
The document says that the moratorium shall be automatically extended until a draft bill on the sale of arable land, which is now being drawn up by the Ukrainian Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry, becomes effective.