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Ukraine’s government manipulating data to embellish situation in country - experts

The year 2017 saw two basic tendencies in Ukraine, namely an economic slowdown and growing inflation

KIEV, January 11. /TASS/. Ukraine’s government is manipulating socio-economic data to embellish the results of their activities, according to experts who commented on the results of 2017 at a news conference on Wednesday.

The year 2017 saw two basic tendencies in Ukraine, namely an economic slowdown (to two percent from 2.3% in 2016) and growing inflation. Thus, inflation stood at 14.4%, whereas the state budget had a figure of 8.1%

However, actual inflation, according to economics expert Viktor Skrashevsky, was likely to be still higher. "Most likely, it was 17-18%," he said, adding that official statistics underreported inflation rates "by means of manipulating calculation methods" as they had been updated exactly in 2017.

According to Skrashevsky, the government is deliberately deceiving people by saying that living standards will be raised in 2018 as the state budget for 2018 provides for no indexation of pension allowances while price growth seems to be inevitable. "Social standards are showing no upward tendencies while inflation is skyrocketing. The government is not taking proper measures," he added.

Another gap between the government’s statements and reality is situation with the living wage, said Yuri Gavrilechko, an expert from the Public Security Foundation. Whereas nominal living wage from January 1 is 3,723 hryvnias (132 US dollars under the current exchange rate), minus taxes people will actually have not more than 3,000 hryvnias (106.4 US dollars). "Inflation will be some 18%, however it is not ruled out that the government may underreport these figures through manipulation," he said.

Apart from that, in his words, deficit of foreign trade balance is bound to grow this year and with domestic prices growing, Ukrainian products will be substituted by imported products to further impact the national currency’s exchange rate.

According to Alexei Doroshenko, director general of the Ukrainian Association of Trade Network Suppliers, food prices in 2018 may go up by 10-11% To keep domestic prices from growing, it will be necessary to reduce the taxation base, expand exports, first of all of the high-yielding agrarian sector, which is a key source of currency in Ukraine. Otherwise, "prices for food products will be higher than in Poland starting from the second half of the year," the expert said.