Ukraine plans reforms, cabinet reshuffle to weed out waste

The new administrative structure would shrink the number of ministries to about 12 from the current 20, the people said. Overall ministry headcount could fall by as much as half. 
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine's president. Image: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will soon announce a cabinet reshuffle and consolidation of Ukraine’s ministries in a bid to weed out waste and corruption, according to people familiar with the plans.

The move comes after Ukraine in the past week set out a blueprint for post-war reconstruction that will rely on hundreds of billions of dollars from the world’s biggest economies.

The new administrative structure would shrink the number of ministries to about 12 from the current 20, the people said. Overall ministry headcount could fall by as much as half.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be reimagined to encompass planning for potential integration into the European Union. It’s unclear if current Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba would remain in the role.

The ministry of digital transformation would be among those leading the effort, according to a person familiar. Elements of the reshuffle have been reported by Ukrainian local media.

In his nightly video address to the nation on Saturday, Zelenskiy foreshadowed “important news” in the coming week, “including from government officials.”

The president on Saturday fired several Ukrainian ambassadors, including those appointed to Germany, Hungary and India. New candidates are being prepared, he said.

After last week’s reconstruction conference in Lugano, Switzerland, an adviser to Zelenskiy said Ukraine was “very serious” about reforms, according to Agence France Presse.

Eradication of corruption and strengthening of the rule of law was one of the key principles set out in the so-called Lugano Declaration.

“We’re serious about showing the world that we have a roadmap and a plan that’s manageable and that can be executed, and implemented at some stage,” Alexander Rodnyansky told AFP.

Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog, ranked Ukraine 122 out of 180 countries on its corruption index perceptions for 2021.

The No. 1 spot, meaning least corrupt, was shared by Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, with South Sudan in 180th place. Russia ranked below Ukraine, at 136th.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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