According to the head of the press service of the State Department, Ned Price, the United States will continue to “support Ukraine in strengthening its institutions, including in promoting democratic institutions and corporate governance reform.”
Washington is deeply concerned about the decision of the authorities in Kyiv to change the management of Naftogaz of Ukraine. This was stated on Thursday at a regular briefing by the head of the press service of the State Department, Ned Price.
“We are deeply concerned about the recent actions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to manipulate existing <…> regulations to <…> replace the leadership of Ukraine’s leading energy company,” Price said.
“This calculated move, using a procedural loophole to remove respected experts from the boards of some key state-owned enterprises, reflects a disregard for fair and transparent corporate governance practices and complicates long-standing efforts to reform Ukraine’s energy sector and improve the investment climate. Unfortunately, these actions are just the latest example of ignoring the accumulated experience, [they] jeopardize the hard-won economic progress of Ukraine,” the State Department official said. According to him, the United States will continue to “support Ukraine in strengthening its institutions, including in promoting democratic institutions and corporate governance reform.” “However, Ukrainian leaders must also contribute,” Price added.
On Wednesday, the government of Ukraine decided to dismiss Andrei Kobolev from the post of head of the company Naftogaz of Ukraine, appointing instead the former at that time Acting Minister of Energy Yuriy Vitrenko. According to the Cabinet of Ministers, Kobolev was replaced due to the unsatisfactory results of the company’s activities in 2020. In addition, the government terminated the powers of independent members of the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz of Ukraine and representatives of the state in the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz.
Naftogaz of Ukraine called the government’s decision to dismiss Kobolev a “legal manipulation” since the idea of appointing or dismissing the head of the management board is the exclusive competence of the Supervisory Board. Naftogaz considers the government’s decision to return to the practice of manual management of state-owned enterprises. In addition, the company believes that ” this is a clear signal to investors in securities of Ukrainian issuers: the working conditions of state-owned enterprises in Ukraine are unpredictable and can be changed depending on political expediency.”