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International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
February 2007
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I. The Macroeconomic and Fiscal Impacts of Energy Price Shocks in Ukraine

Core Questions, Issues, and Findings

  • What effect will rising natural gas import prices have on economic activity? The shock will lower output growth and increase inflation through a variety of channels (¶4–10). The effects can be modeled in several ways, and near-term output growth could be lower by about 0.4 percent, and inflation higher by about 0.8 percent, for a 10 percent increase in the import price of gas (¶11–23).
  • How can energy-sector policies help the economy adjust to rising energy prices? The authorities’ energy-savings plans would reduce the impact on output, and appear achievable based on international experience. Ensuring pass-through of prices will be crucial, however. To this end, existing social programs seem adequate to protect the poor, but the energy sector regulator needs greater independence to set prices in line with costs (¶25–30).
  • How can wage policy help the economy adjust to rising energy prices? Real wage resistance could lead to a wage-price spiral. Wage restraint could, on the other hand, help lower exchange-rate volatility. The government can help restrain wages via moderate minimum wage increases, and by eliminating backward looking indexation of wages in the public sector (¶31–35).
  • What impact will rising natural gas import prices have on quasi-fiscal deficits in the energy sector? Pricing below cost recovery, weak enforcement on tariff payment compliance, and other inefficiencies contribute to quasi-fiscal deficits. With partial pass-through of rising gas import prices to consumers and budget services in 2007, the quasi-fiscal deficit for the energy sector as a whole could rise by nearly ½ percent of GDP, to about 3¾ percent of GDP (¶36–45).
  • Is the government’s framework for managing state enterprises adequate? Widespread administrative restraint on prices, and weak commercial orientation have generated a drain on the budget, in the order of 4–5 percent of GDP per year. Further, weak control on external borrowing has created significant contingent liabilities (¶46 to ¶51). Fragmented monitoring and supervision, and auditing and reporting practices that are not comprehensive, should be addressed (¶52–53).

1. In early 2006, Russia began to increase natural gas import prices for Ukraine toward prices charged in Western Europe. The agreement reached set Ukraine’s gas import price at US$95 per tcm, an increase of 64 percent from the US$59 average that previously prevailed. This is well above the US$48 per tcm price in Belarus, but less than the border prices prevailing in other countries abutting Russia (Figure I.1). An increase of a further US$35 per tcm has already been agreed for 2007. In the medium term, prices are expected to continue to edge toward transit-adjusted European market levels, presently about US$290 per tcm.

Figure I.1.Natural Gas Import Price in Selected Countries

Source: IMF World Economic Outlook and country authorities.

2. The first section of this paper analyses the impact that rising energy import prices might have on growth and inflation in Ukraine using several different methods. Higher prices for energy essentially amount to a negative productivity shock to the economy, crimping real GDP growth and boosting inflation. The section first sets out theory and then discusses three methods of estimating impacts. The analysis highlights the role that energy efficiency, energy price pass-through, and wage setting can have in mitigating or worsening macroeconomic impacts. The section concludes by discussing international experience in these policy areas, and measures that could be taken to mitigate impacts.

3. The second section examines how rising gas prices might elevate macro-fiscal risks in Ukraine’s state enterprise sector. Quasi-fiscal deficits (QFDs) and contingent liabilities in the gas, electricity and coal sectors have narrowed over time, led by gradual improvements in administrative and pricing policies (Tchaidze, 2003; and Tiffin, 2005). The second section first examines the potential effect of rising gas import prices on QFDs in different branches of the energy sector, under various assumptions about pass-through of the shock to domestic tariffs. Results suggest that risks could remain sizeable, albeit contained. The section then reviews Ukraine’s state enterprise management framework, to shed light on its weaknesses, and examines sources of risk emerging from both energy-enterprises and the state enterprise sector as a whole. The section concludes by outlining some international best practices to help address macro-fiscal risks in state enterprises.

A. The Macroeconomic Effects of Energy Price Shocks in Ukraine1

4. Ukraine is highly vulnerable to gas import price shocks:

  • Similar to other CIS countries, Ukraine is highly inefficient in using energy. For example, energy use per unit of purchasing power parity adjusted (PPP-adjusted) GDP exceeds German figures by a factor of over 3. While Ukraine’s efficiency has improved recently at a rate of 4–6 percent per year, at end-2005 it remained at a level similar to that of Poland in the early 1990s (Table I.1).
  • Gas is a relatively more important energy source in Ukraine, and imports are the major source of gas supply. Almost half of the primary energy supply in Ukraine is derived from gas, well above the levels observed in countries like Poland and Germany. At the same time, while Ukraine does produce almost ¼ of its needs, its gas imports per unit of PPP-adjusted GDP vastly exceed that in other countries (Table I.1 final column).
Table I.1.Ukraine: Energy Use in International Perspective, 2001–2003
Energy Use 1/GasOilOtherImport Share 2/Gas Vulnerability 3/
1981–852001–03(Share of total primary energy supply)(Total PES)(Gas PES)
Source: International Energy Agency.

Kilotonnes of oil equivalent per unit of PPP-adjusted GDP.

PES denotes “primary energy supply”.

Imported gas per unit of PPP-adjusted GDP.

Source: International Energy Agency.

Kilotonnes of oil equivalent per unit of PPP-adjusted GDP.

PES denotes “primary energy supply”.

Imported gas per unit of PPP-adjusted GDP.

Theory—Channels Through Which Growth and Inflation Impacts Arise

5. A generic production function can illustrate the channels through which energy price shocks can affect output in the medium term. Following Bruno and Sachs (1985), the output of a three-factor production function—incorporating capital (K), labor (L), and energy (E)—can be measured in several ways:

In equation (1), Q measures gross output. In equation (2), Y is a measure of real income (net output, using the overall price level as a deflator). Equation 3 captures value added (V) or real GDP (net output, using the overall price level to deflate nominal output, and energy prices to deflate energy inputs). If each factor input is employed to the point where its marginal product is equal to its price, and sK, sL, and sE denote the cost shares of capital, labor, and energy in production, the effect of a change in the price of energy on real GDP is given by:

6. From equation (4), as a first channel, an energy price shock can affect real GDP via the size of the capital stock. The capital stock channel comprises three effects: (i) a (negative) income effect as the rise in the price of energy squeezes profits (the return on capital) inducing firms to wish to employ less capital; (ii) a (positive) capital substitution effect, where the decline in the price of capital relative to energy induces an increase in the capital stock; and (iii) a (negative) capital obsolescence effect, where the increase in energy prices renders part of the existing capital stock non-profitable for production.

7. A second channel on the production side has energy-price shocks affecting real GDP through the amount of labor input. Three effects can work through this channel: (i) a (negative) labor supply effect, where the gas price hike reduces the real consumption wage and triggers a negative labor supply response; (ii) a (positive) labor substitution effect, where the decline in the price of labor relative to energy spurs an increase in labor input; and (iii) a (negative) real wage rigidity effect, where workers maintain their real consumption wage by indexing nominal wages to consumer prices, and firms substitute other factors. This latter effect, through the squeeze it induces on profits, can also produce a second-round impact on GDP through reductions in the level of capital input.

8. A third channel on the production side involves the impact through the amount of intermediate energy input used. This comprises two effects: (i) a (positive) substitution effect, where a rise in the relative price of energy spurs a reduction in the use of intermediate energy inputs; and (ii) a (positive) efficiency effect, where higher energy prices and/or energy policy changes spur the introduction of more energy-efficient production processes. If these effects dominated, then overall effect on output could even be positive.

9. An energy price shock would have an impact on inflation through producer’s pricing decisions, and through government policy decisions. With production costs rising, producers would be expected to raise their prices. To the extent, however, that profit margins were high, they could be willing to accept some decline in their mark-up, and a smaller increase in price. At the same time, monetary and fiscal policy settings are crucial in determining the full inflation impact and its persistence. With the shock likely to have some negative impact on aggregate supply, policies which increase aggregate demand would be expected to raise the price level, possibly inducing a price-wage-price spiral. Policies which reduced demand to offset incipient price pressures could conceivably eliminate some of the inflation impact, but at the cost of slower growth.

10. Some of these effects are likely to be more important than others in a transition economy like Ukraine. Ukraine’s older capital stock, geared to heavy use of cheap energy, suggests that capital obsolescence and energy-efficiency effects could be crucial. These non-linear and difficult-to-capture impacts introduce a considerable margin of uncertainty into the analysis—as noted, if they dominate, the effect on output could even be positive. At the same time, recent strong wage growth momentum in Ukraine, and legal requirements to raise minimum wages to reach the minimum subsistence wage (which is 25 percent higher and rises with CPI inflation), suggests that the real wage rigidity effect could also be very significant. We will return to the issues of efficiency and wage policy below.

Estimating Growth and Inflation Impacts for Ukraine

11. A variety of techniques can be employed to estimate the impact of energy price shocks on growth and inflation. These approaches are explained below. Table I.2 summarizes estimated impacts on growth and inflation of a 10 percent price shock.

Table I.2.Ukraine: Impact of a 10 Percent Gas Price Shock
Year 1Medium termYear 1Medium term
Statistical approaches
IMF-VAR (Deflator)-0.43-0.500.560.64
Semi-structural methods
Ready reckoners-direct impacts-0.300.60
Ready reckoners-full impacts-0.300.92
World Bank 2006-0.52-0.33
Structural approach
Vinhas de Souza IS-LM model (2006)-0.721.38
Institute for Economic Research (2006)-0.92
Average (unweighted)-0.44-0.570.800.52
Sources: Vinhas de Souza (2006); World Bank (2006); Institute for Economic Research (2006a); and IMF staff estimates.
Sources: Vinhas de Souza (2006); World Bank (2006); Institute for Economic Research (2006a); and IMF staff estimates.

Statistical methods

12. Statistical methods use historical data to capture in a reduced form the supply-demand channels outlined above. Within this approach, vector autoregressions offer two advantages. First, the analyst can look at the response of the economy to the shock even while applying minimal structural assumptions—a triangular decomposition of the residual matrix placing policy variables last and exogenous variables like imported energy prices first can suffice. Second, data requirements are not very onerous, an important consideration in Ukraine. The approach also has an important drawback: analyzing different policy options is conceptually problematic since changing the policy reaction functions would likely change the estimated reduced form relationships. This means, for instance, that improvements in energy efficiency cannot be modeled.

13. Here we apply a quarterly VAR, estimated over the period 1996:1 to 2005:4. The variables include real GDP growth, CPI inflation, the change in the real effective exchange rate, the change in the energy import price for Ukraine (with energy priced and measured in kilotons of oil equivalent).2 Exogenous variables include import growth in Russia and the change in steel prices. All variables are seasonally adjusted. The estimated model is stationary and has two lags. Properties of residuals are reasonable.3 The real effective exchange rate, the price of steel and CPI inflation have the most significant impacts on growth, while past inflation, the price of imported energy, the real effective exchange rate, and the level of Russian imports have the most significant impacts on inflation.

14. Impulse response functions for growth and inflation provide a window into the historical impact of energy-price shocks in Ukraine. A 10 percent shock to gas prices (which represents about a 6.7 percent shock to energy prices) reduces output by about 0.1 percent after 4 quarters, and 0.5 percent in the medium term; the same shock raises CPI inflation by 1.2 percent after 4 quarters, and by 1.1 percent in the medium term. The impact on growth is sharp in the first quarter after the price increase and there is a significant peak in inflation after three to four quarters. Otherwise, effects are imprecisely estimated (Figure I.2).

Figure I.2.Ukraine: Impulse Response Over 12 Quarters to a One Standard Deviation Shock to Energy Prices

Source: IMF staff estimates.

Semi-structural methods

15. Semi-structural methods attempt to capture the impact of energy price shocks by using selected aspects of the supply-demand channels outlined above. Two levels of detail can be pursued, one which identifies direct first round impacts of the shock, so-called “ready reckoners,” and another which also seeks to illuminate second round impacts by modeling some behavioral relationships. The approach is quite flexible, allowing consideration of a wide variety of policies, including energy-efficiency improvements.

16. To develop a direct estimate of the impact on energy prices on real activity, it is convenient to use a measure of real income instead of GDP. Using (2) above, and again assuming that each factor input is employed to the point where its marginal product is equal to its price, the effect of a change in the price of energy on real income is given by:

The direct effect can then be proxied by SE, the cost share of energy in production. Essentially, if the price of energy (PE) goes up and gross output (Q) remains unchanged, real income (Y) has to decline in proportion to the cost share of the energy input in production. The analyst may then layer on assumptions about energy-efficiency savings, or about substitution away from energy, which could be crucial in a transition economy. Since the impact is being measured via real income, it may also make sense to assume some distribution of the shock over time (e.g. due to habit formation in consumption). In any model, however, this “ready reckoner” for the GDP growth response is a local approximation and needs to be recalculated when energy cost shares change significantly.

17. The first round impacts for Ukraine can thus be identified as follows:

  • Growth. Using 2005 data, the share of intermediate gas is about 3 percent of GDP. Thus, through the real income channel, a permanent 10 percent increase in gas prices would lower near-term GDP growth by about 0.3 percent. Assuming that a third of the shock is financed could reduce this to 0.2 percent. With demand likely highly inelastic in the short run—for instance the technologies underlying Ukraine’s communal services sector would take years to adapt—energy savings would have very little additional impact.4
  • Inflation. The direct impact can be derived by using the weight of energy products in the CPI basket. The 2006 CPI weights show 1.9 percent dedicated to direct consumption of gas, and a further 5.2 percent to consumption of electricity and heating and cooling. Assuming full pass-through by electricity and heating producers of their gas cost increase (gas represents about 8 percent of electricity and 38 percent of heating inputs), the direct CPI impact of a 10 percent gas price increase is likely to be about 0.6 percent.

18. To capture second-round inflation and external impacts, one can model the behavior of producers’ price mark-up and the adjustment of the current account:

  • Mark-up. The share of gas in the production of non-energy CPI components amounts to about 1½ percent. There are no good available estimates of the behavior of the mark-up in Ukraine, and thus one must consider a range of pass-through estimates. If producers pass through half of the gas price increase, the impact on the CPI of a 10 percent increase would amount to 0.07 percent; if they pass through all of the increase, it would amount to 0.14 percent. Company profitability may offer a clue about the outcome: the greater are corporate margins, the more room there is to absorb cost increases. Available data suggest that there was a large decline in margins in 2005, as the government pushed through big increases in the minimum wage and closed tax loopholes.5 By this metric an estimate of pass-through of half or more would seem reasonable.
  • External adjustment, depreciation and pass-through. In the medium term, the current account must correct to offset the impact of the gas price shock. The amount of real depreciation necessary will depend on export and import price elasticities. These are estimated to be in the range of 0.6 and 0.3 for Ukraine, suggesting that a 3 percent real depreciation would be needed to offset a 10 percent gas price shock. To the extent that the real depreciation comes about through nominal depreciation, the pass-through to the domestic currency price of imported goods will then effect the overall inflation rate. Estimates of import price pass-through in emerging markets vary (see Leigh and Rossi, 2002); assuming 50 percent price pass-through, given that imports comprise about 12 percent of the consumer basket, a 10 percent nominal depreciation should lead to a 0.6 percent impact on the CPI in Ukraine.

19. Combining the first- and second-round impacts, a picture emerges of the full impact of gas price shocks in Ukraine. For a 10 percent gas price shock, the total growth impact would amount to about 0.3 percent, and the total inflation impact, some 0.9 percent. These estimates can also be used as “ready reckoners” to calculate the impact from larger shocks. Such scaled up estimates should be treated with caution, however: the farther the increase moves the economy away from the initial equilibrium, the more effects ignored by the ready-reckoners—substitution of other factors, capital obsolescence, and efficiency gains—would come into play. That said, for the 60 percent price shock seen in early 2006, the impact could be as much as 1.8 percent on output, and 5⅓ percent on inflation.

Full structural models

20. Structural models completely specify the microfoundations of the supply and demand channels outlined above. New Keynesian open economy models represent the state-of-the-art technique.6,7 In these models, forward-looking consumers and producers maximize their utility and profits. Frictions arise due to habit persistence in consumption and to adjustment costs (in goods pricing, wage contracts, investment and portfolio shifts). Policy assumptions include, in the monetary area, a flexible exchange rate and an inflation-targeting regime. On the fiscal side, the government is assumed to run a balanced budget, collecting taxes and seignorage, and spending on non-traded goods. The models allow for trading of intermediate and final goods, and shocks to the terms of trade.

21. A challenge posed by this approach is that the analyst must calibrate the model. The approach is thus most useful and precise when independent research is available on the various underlying parameters (for instance, the elasticity of labor supply or the elasticity of substitution between factors in the production function). The major advantage is the possibility to do policy analysis, at least on the range of issues that the model is capable of addressing (the models need to be solved by numerical simulation, and there is thus a key trade-off between the range of issues that they can cover, and the ability to solve them). The model also allows one to better consider the non-linear impact—that is, the much larger substitution effects—from large changes in energy prices, as in Ukraine at present.

22. To operationalize such an approach for Ukraine, one can use the GEM-Energy model developed in Hunt (2005). Here, energy enters in final consumption and as an intermediate input in the production function, providing two channels through which it can effect inflation and growth. Energy efficiency gains can be explicitly modeled, in the form of substitution away from energy to other factors. The model is calibrated to yield reasonable dynamics in response to various macroeconomic shocks, and similar energy prices across countries. Appendix I.1 presents parameters used to calibrate the model for Ukraine’s energy intensities, including assumed elasticities of substitution between energy and other factors.

23. Impulse response functions for growth are similar to those for the VAR, but for inflation they show a markedly different pattern (Figure I.3). A 10 percent shock to gas prices reduces output by about ¾ percent after 4 quarters, and 0.6 percent in the medium term. The same shock raises CPI inflation by 0.2 percent after 4 quarters, and reduces it by almost the same amount in the medium term. The inflation result reflects the inflation-targeting assumption in GEM, and the output gap that opens up as the economy contracts.

Figure I.3.Ukraine: Response Over 20 Quarters to a 10 Percent Gas Price Shock

Source: IMF staff estimates.

Key Policy Considerations for Growth and Inflation Impacts

24. Theory suggests that there are several key policy channels through which the shock’s impact on growth and inflation could be either amplified or mitigated. chapter II examines the crucial issue of the monetary policy framework: a more flexible exchange rate can help maintain competitiveness, but care must be taken to anchor inflation expectations. This section looks at the role of energy efficiency and wage policy.

Energy efficiency

25. The role of energy efficiency in mitigating the impact of the shock can be demonstrated within the semi-structural approach. With intermediate energy use at 3 percent of GDP, a 10 percent price shock would have no impact on GDP if gas use efficiency could improve by 9 percent (i.e. to reduce usage from 3.3 back to 3 percent of GDP). For the 64 percent price shock faced by Ukraine in 2006, the required gas efficiency improvement is 39 percent.8 Quickly achieving the average total energy efficiency level in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic could allow Ukraine to offset a 365 percent gas price shock (i.e. a movement to market prices).

26. How fast can Ukraine hope to boost energy efficiency? The authorities aim to improve efficiency by 23 percent over the next 5 years, and 42 percent over 15 years (Ministry of Fuel and Energy, 2006). This would leave Ukraine almost as efficient as the present day Czech and Slovak Republics. In part, the improvement would reflect an economic transition toward less energy-intensive services. However, the plan also identifies savings measures, including: metering; upgrading of district heating systems and gas transit compressor technology; and in the private sector, upgrading of steel and cement making technology. Total investments would amount to about $6 billion through 2010 (6 percent of 2006 GDP). Looking at the experience of Poland and Slovakia, the forecasted pace of change appears attainable (Figure I.4). Ukraine would improve more rapidly at first, but begins in a more wasteful state, with more easy opportunities to improve. Nevertheless, the near-term pace of improvement does not appear to be enough to fully offset the impact of the shock on output.

Figure I.4.Energy Savings Plans in International Perspective

Sources: International Energy Agency; and Ministry of Fuel and Energy (Ukraine).

27. Improvements in energy efficiency are most likely to come about in an environment where the relative price of energy is rising. The right price signals are needed to induce the millions of individual decisions by corporations and consumers which together produce a large change in aggregate behavior. Indeed, looking at the government’s plans for savings through efficiency related investments, almost all of the identified measures fall into the realm of the private sector, or of public sector energy companies (some of which are expected to be privatized). Looking at the experience of transition and other emerging market economies in the 1990s, a relationship between relative energy price changes and improvements in efficiency is evident (Figure I.5)

Figure I.5.Energy Efficiency and Pricing in the OECD 1/

Source: International Energy Agency.

1/ Between 1996 and 2000, and between 2000 and 2004

28. The government of Ukraine has taken important steps to pass through price increases to-date, but much more will need to be done. With the 2006 increases, industry prices reflect import prices, while the gap for consumers and budget entities has been closed significantly (consumers were 60 percent below import price levels in 2005, but only 30 percent below by the second half of 2006). Bringing consumer prices fully to import price levels (to reflect opportunity costs, generate resources for energy efficiency investments, and minimize quasi-fiscal deficits in the energy sector—see the next section of this Chapter) will require a new round of significant pass-through, not least since import prices are set to rise by close to 40 percent in 2007, and perhaps 100 percent in total over the medium term.

29. International experience offers some lessons about how to strengthen prospects for achieving full pass-through. Prolonged periods of price pass-through have not proven to be easy tasks for countries attempting them, with reversals and setbacks common. Experience suggests that the probability of success can be raised by: (i) automatic price setting mechanisms which ensure independence from political interference; and (ii) measures to protect the most vulnerable from the impact (see IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, 2006).

30. Ukraine has a strong social support system in place, but could yet draw on international experience to improve its own pass-through prospects:

  • Social support mechanisms are already in place to protect the most vulnerable. The government introduced a graduated (lifeline) tariff in November 2006, where those who have utility payments exceeding 20 percent of their income are eligible for subsidies. The population also began with a very large cushion: in the wake of large wage increases in 2005 and early 2006, a reduction of the household savings rate to that in 2004 would have provided enough resources to cover a full 100 percent increase in gas prices, and full pass-through of this to heating and electricity prices. Indeed, with communal services consuming only 6.6 percent of household budgets, few people qualified for subsidies.
  • However, energy price setting remains far from automatic in Ukraine, with the regulator’s decisions subject to review by various ministries and the Cabinet of Ministers. Its independence needs to be strengthened in law and it needs to be given control over its own resources, both financial and human (see World Bank, 2005a).

Wage adjustment

31. The GEM-energy-Ukraine model can be used to highlight the potential role of wage setting in amplifying impacts of an energy shock. Following Hunt (2006), consider a scenario where Ukrainian workers resist a decline in their real wage. Simulating the adapted model under a 50 percent gas price increase (similar to the 2006 shock) suggests that optimizing firms respond by cutting employment and output further (Figure I.6, first panel). This impact may have led industrial countries to overestimate potential output growth in the 1970s, leading to mistakes in monetary policy and an extra inflation impetus (Hunt, 2006). The model suggests that a similar effect could arise in Ukraine (Figure I.6, second panel).

Figure I.6.Ukraine: Energy Price Shock with Real Wage Resistance

Source: IMF staff estimates.

32. Wage policy could instead help mitigate the shock. Flexible wages help directly improve competitiveness, and thus reduce the need for nominal exchange-rate adjustment and the depreciation and extra inflation that this can entail. Moreover, balance-sheet mismatches in Ukraine’s corporate and household sectors suggest a need to avoid large exchange-rate movements (Chapter III). Such movements could create financing constraints for firms and households, and even undermine the banking system, with much larger potential impact on aggregate demand and output (see Rosenberg and others, 2005).

33. Are real wages likely to prove flexible in Ukraine, mitigating the shock? The government annually sets the minimum wage path, and within year indexation is automatic when CPI changes outpace this. The government also intends over time to set the minimum wage equal to the minimum living standard (the cost of living for a working individual). This standard is presently 25 percent higher than the minimum wage, and is annually indexed to changes in CPI inflation. Indexation and convergence to the minimum living standard could together create a potentially large real wage rigidity. This rigidity could prove immediately problematic in the government sector, and a growing problem for the private sector:

  • Government sector wages. The whole wage scale rises in line with the minimum wage. Since civil servant’s salary package contains substantial non-wage compensation, there is some room to offset changes in minimum wages (and the government was actively pursuing this route in its 2007 budget proposal). However, this can lead to undesirable wage compression, and this route cannot be pursued indefinitely.
  • Private sector and broader public sector wages. The minimum wage is a potential constraint for industry. Wages are generally set through sector-wide collective bargaining (with the government playing an important role, not least because of its still-extensive set of state enterprises). However, it is not clear how well the minimum wage and sectoral agreements are enforced, and underreporting of wages—for tax evasion purposes—may also imply a margin for flexibility (see World Bank, 2005b). Thus the minimum wage may not be binding in the near-term, but could become so over the medium-term.

34. A more appropriate minimum wage policy could help prevent a macroeconomically problematic real wage rigidity in Ukraine. Three steps could be considered: (i) elimination of backward indexation in favor of a forward looking measure; (ii) the use of a price measure excluding energy in calibrating wage increases—this would help ensure that real wages respond to the shock and in a way which could be transparently explained to the public; and (iii) slower convergence of the minimum to the minimum subsistence wage, at least until uncertainty related to rising energy prices abates.

35. There is some international experience with the use of forward looking ex-energy measures in indexing wages, but this suggests caution. The Belgian system, imposed in 1994, probably helped reduce real wage growth in the mid-1990s, but mistakes about forward-looking inflation helped push real wages up after 2000 (IMF, 2006). It may thus be advisable in Ukraine, where inflation has been more volatile and forecast errors larger, to avoid automatic indexation altogether. Instead, an annual change could be set based on programmed inflation, excluding energy prices; it could then be split into a first half component, and a discretionary second half component, to be confirmed at mid-year.

B. Macro-Fiscal Vulnerabilities in the Energy-Sector State Enterprises 9

Quasi-Fiscal Deficits in the Energy Sector

36. Assessing macro-fiscal risks in the energy sector requires estimating its quasi-fiscal deficit (QFD). Owing to data constraints, we follow the so-called above-the-line approach used in previous studies (Tchaidze, 2003; Tiffin, 2005; and Saavalainen and ten Berge, 2006). This directly measures quasi-fiscal activities, defined as those that would not prevail in competitive markets without government intervention.10 They comprise: (i) mispricing—the extent to which output prices are set below cost-recovery, either at financial or economic cost to state-owned enterprises (SOEs); (ii) weak enforcement of payment compliance, which can act as a de facto transfer to noncompliant consumers; and (iii) output losses above technically normal levels—caused mainly by underinvestment and poor management.

37. The assessment of macro-fiscal risks also evaluates the outlook for the energy sector: QFDs under different scenarios for tariff adjustment. The scenarios are tailored to each specific energy subsector—gas, electricity and coal—subject to data availability (see Box I.1 for more background on each subsector) The analysis compares cases under which prices are adjusted to ensure cost recovery, as well as cases in which under pricing may continue due to partial tariff adjustment.

QFDs and contingent liabilities in the gas sector

38. Naftogaz is financially weak, and has accumulated large liabilities. Already in 2005, prior to the rise in gas import prices, the company incurred a net financial loss of about½ percent of GDP. Tensions grew further after the gas price hike, especially as Naftogaz was not allowed to immediately raise consumer tariffs (Ernst&Young, 2006). While tariffs were eventually adjusted later in 2006, Naftogaz accumulated net foreign liabilities of about½ percent of GDP, raising the total stock to 2½ percent of GDP (US$2.5 billion).11 Most of this debt is not subject to explicit government guarantees, but the request for at least one credit in 2006 was supported by an official comfort letter. Naftogaz has also accumulated tax arrears which are close to 1 percent of GDP at present.

39. The gas import price shock has put upward pressure on Naftogaz’s quasi-fiscal deficit. An assessment of the QFD using financial costs as a benchmark suggests that QFDs fell by about 2¼ percent of GDP in 2003–05 to about ½ percent of GDP, driven by an improvement in payment compliance and a reduction in under-pricing Table I.3.12 This trend reversed in 2006, with the QFD rising by ½ percent of GDP to 2 percent of GDP, driven by under-pricing (given the delayed tariff adjustments as gas import prices hiked) and the drop in compliance that followed the tariff increases.

Table I.3.Ukraine: Quasi-Fiscal Deficits in the Energy Sector 1/(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise noted)
A. Energy Sector
Partial pass-through6.
B. Gas Sector
Partial pass-through3.
Mispricing 2/3/4/
Payment arrears 5/
Losses 6/
Tariffs at economic cost 7/
Mispricing 2/3/
Payment arrears 5/
Losses 6/
C Electricity Sector
Partial pass-through1.
Payment arrears 5/
Tariffs at economic cost1.
Payment arrears 5/
D. Coal Sector
Partial pass-through 7/
Tariffs at economic cost-recovery 6/
Memorandum items
Nominal GDP (Millions of hryvnias)267,344345,113424,741505,409573,708646,077724,968808,552906,596
Sources: Ukrainian authorities; and staff estimates.

Excludes financial profits attributed to RosUkrEnergo from 2006 onwards for sales of gas to private industrial consumers.

Calculated separately for industrial consumers, (public) heating companies and retail consumers. Industrial consumers and heating companies are supplied from imported gas, with any consumption deficit covered with domestically produced gas. Tariffs are assumed to be VAT-exclusive.

Losses on mispricing to public heating companies accrue fully to Naftogaz, even if supplied with imported gas. This assumption quantifies the (equivalent) quasi-fiscal losses under two possible scenarios: first, domestic tariffs to heating companies are not adjusted, with Naftog; bearing the cost; second, domestic tariffs to power companies are adjusted, but these cannot pass on the adjustment to domestic heating tariffs, incurring themselves a quasi-fiscal loss.

Production cost of imported gas reflects both import gas prices plus delivery cost. Domestic production costs include the extraction royalty and delivery cost, but is VAT exclusive.

Assumes a 5 percent worsening in compliance by residential consumers and communal heating companies when tariffs are adjusted; compliance remains constant under partial pass-through.

Sources: Ukrainian authorities; and staff estimates.

Excludes financial profits attributed to RosUkrEnergo from 2006 onwards for sales of gas to private industrial consumers.

Calculated separately for industrial consumers, (public) heating companies and retail consumers. Industrial consumers and heating companies are supplied from imported gas, with any consumption deficit covered with domestically produced gas. Tariffs are assumed to be VAT-exclusive.

Losses on mispricing to public heating companies accrue fully to Naftogaz, even if supplied with imported gas. This assumption quantifies the (equivalent) quasi-fiscal losses under two possible scenarios: first, domestic tariffs to heating companies are not adjusted, with Naftog; bearing the cost; second, domestic tariffs to power companies are adjusted, but these cannot pass on the adjustment to domestic heating tariffs, incurring themselves a quasi-fiscal loss.

Production cost of imported gas reflects both import gas prices plus delivery cost. Domestic production costs include the extraction royalty and delivery cost, but is VAT exclusive.

Assumes a 5 percent worsening in compliance by residential consumers and communal heating companies when tariffs are adjusted; compliance remains constant under partial pass-through.

Box I.1.Ukraine’s Energy Sector: An Overview

Ukraine’s gas sector has been dominated by Naftogaz, the largest state-owned enterprise. Naftogaz is the country’s largest firm in terms of assets, and supplied nearly all of Ukraine’s gas consumers through end-2005. Traditionally, Naftogaz has supplied households and budgetary units (about 25 percent of total consumption) from domestic gas production, while supplying industrial consumers, including public heating and power firms, with subsidized gas imports. But starting in 2006, as a result of the new gas contract between Ukraine and Russia, gas imports will be handled by UkrGas Energo (UGE), a joint venture between Naftogaz and the privately-owned RosUkr Energo (RUE). RUE provides gas at the Ukraine-Russia border to UGE, which sells it and distributes it to industrial consumers, and to heating and power companies. The profits are evenly split between Naftogaz and RUE. The household market, still supplied mostly with domestic gas, remains in Naftogaz’s hands.

Ukraine’s electricity sector has a large public participation, making it a potential source of macro-fiscal risks. The sector includes state-owned power generation companies, a state-controlled wholesale electricity market, and regional distributors, out of which about half belong to the state. The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) serves as a regulator, but there are independent licensed traders, with unregulated tariffs (Petri and others, 2002; Tchaidze, 2003). Ukraine’s electricity intensity is high by international standards. Electricity SOEs are also linked to other energy-SOEs: most notably, the coal industry is one of the largest electricity consumers in Ukraine, and could be impacted by large upward revisions in electricity tariffs.

Ukraine’s coal sector remains mostly state-owned, although government participation is declining. Non-state-owned enterprises produce over 35 percent of Ukraine’s coal, and de facto control of large parts of the industry lies with certain groups of major industrial consumers of coal (World Bank, 2003b). Coal mines are, however, subject to chronic financial distress and asset stripping, and limited efforts have been made to improve performance. Financial plans agreed between the SOEs and the Ministry of Economy for 2006 foresee losses exceeding ¼ percent of GDP in enterprises overseen by the Ministry of Coal Industry.

40. Simulations suggest that QFDs could remain significant under a policy of partial tariff adjustment (Table I.3). If, for example, the government adjusted only the tariffs applying to private industrial consumers in line with rising gas import costs from 2007 onward (leaving those paid by households, government units and heating and power companies unchanged), Naftogaz’s QFD would increase to nearly 2½ percent of GDP in 2007. It would rise moderately thereafter, as gas import prices converged to international levels.13 Losses due to under-pricing would arise for two reasons: (i) in the domestic market, frozen tariffs for households and budgetary units would not compensate rising domestic production and delivery costs (the latter are linked to import gas prices); and (ii) in the industrial market, the lack of adjustment in tariffs for power and heating companies would be at odds with the rising cost of their import supplies.14

41. Tariff adjustment could have a significant positive effect on Naftogaz’s financial position. Tariff setting at economic cost (represented by the benchmark of gas import prices for all types of users), would more than offset production costs, creating a source of financial profit. Even assuming that problems with weak consumer payment compliance and excess technical losses persist, QFDs would gradually decline over the medium term to very moderate levels—some ½ percent of GDP. Moreover, efficient use of financial profits through reinvestment and administrative improvements could both help eliminate technical losses and improve payment compliance, further consolidating the company’s financial position, and fully eliminating the QFD in the gas sector.

QFDs in the electricity sector

42. Electricity QFDs are modest and would remain so even in the absence of tariff adjustment. QFDs in the sector have declined over time, to just above ½ percent of GDP in 2005–06. This reflects tariff increases for industrial users, which have offset the losses from selling to consumers below cost recovery. Estimates of mispricing can be made on the basis of two groups: (i) retail users (utility companies, budgetary units and households, accounting for about 60 percent of total consumption), which are in the less efficient voltage grid at a cost of US$39 per MWh; and (ii) the industrial sector, connected to the high voltage grid, at an average cost of US$20 per MWh. With tariffs to both groups unchanged, QFDs would remain at ½ percent of GDP (Table I.3).15

43. Tariff-setting at economic cost should eliminate the QFD in the sector. Tariffs would then ensure the elimination of cross-subsidization across consumer groups, and offset any remaining losses due to weak consumer payment compliance.16

QFDs in the coal sector

44. The sector is subject to serious mispricing practices and receives large explicit budgetary subsidies. Coal prices reflect neither the costs of production nor the cost of alternative energy sources available in the economy. The sector’s average production cost of US$29 per ton is about 15 percent higher than the sector’s average price (World Bank, 2003b). Coal enterprises require a government subsidy that has declined slowly over time, from nearly 1¼ percent of GDP at the beginning of the decade to about ¾ percent of GDP in 2006. This transfer serves as a proxy of the magnitude of sector’s QFD.

45. Coal price adjustments to ensure cost recovery could eliminate the sector’s QFDs and the budgetary transfers. If rising gas import prices are passed through, substitution by users towards less-expensive coal should help maintain a stable demand for coal. Keeping prices unadjusted, however, could generate an increased need for fiscal transfers. Under a policy of partial pass-through across the various branches in the energy sector, QFDs in the coal SOEs are likely to remain stable over time.

Managing Macro-Fiscal Risks in SOEs: Is Ukraine’s Framework Adequate?

46. Ukraine’s SOE sector has a wide range of ownership and management schemes. In line with Ukraine’s Economic Code, enterprises fall into state and communal unitary enterprises, and economic transactors. The first group comprises a number of SOEs with special status (kazenni), that are fully controlled by the government, exempt from certain aspects of corporate law, and enjoy guaranteed state orders, as well as “ordinary” SOEs, fully owned by the government, and controlled by ministries or other government agencies, but which have a greater degree of managerial independence (Leonov and Zhuk, 2005). Economic transactors include share-holding companies, limited liability companies and other integrated companies, which must abide by Ukraine’s corporate legal framework.17

47. Weak SOE management is at the root of the macro-fiscal risks posed by public enterprises in Ukraine, including in the energy sector. This section reviews the soundness of the management framework, using an assessment tool prepared by the Fund.18 To detect sources of vulnerability, it evaluates on a number of quantitative and qualitative criteria in SOEs including: (i) managerial independence; (ii) relations with the government; (iii) governance structure; (iv) financial conditions and sustainability; and (v) other risk factors. A summary of the evaluation is presented in Table I.4.

Table I.4.Ukraine: Overview of Commercial Orientation of SOEs 1/
Type of Public

Managerial IndependenceGovernment relations
Pricing policyEmployment policy

reflect costs
SubsidiesNo civil


No surplus



No loan guarantees 2/QFAsStandard tax



Ordinary SOEDepends on

Yesn.a.Non.a.Non.a.Depends on

SOCs, 100 percent

government share 4/
Depends on

YesNoNon.a.Non.a.Depends on

Depends on

Yes, with


of which: Naftogaz 10/NoYesNoNon.a.NoNoYes 8/YesNo9/
SOC, with government share: 4/
50–100 percent 11/Depends on

Depends on

NoNon.a.Depends on

n.a.Depends on

Depends on

0–50 percentYesDepends on

NoYesn.a.Yesn.a.Depends on

Depends on

Financial ConditionsGovernance structureOther factors
Type of Public

Profitability 3/Credit-worthinessStock listed7/Outside

Annual reportsMinority



Debt level 5/Debt cost 6/LaborSales 12/
Ordinary SOEn.a.n.a.n.a.NoNoYesn.a.Yes/Debtn.a.n.a.
SOCs, 100 percent

government share4/
n.a.n.a.n.a.YesNoYesDepends on

Depends on

of which: Naftogaz 10/-; quality

unclear; delayed.

SOC, with government share: 4/
50–100 percent 11/22.968.2n.a.YesNoYesWeak protectionDepends on SOEn.a.0.7
0–50 percentn.a.n.a.n.a.YesNoYesWeak protectionDepends on SOEn.a.n.a.
Sources: Ukrainian authorities; Leonov and Zhuk (2005); and staff estimates.

“Yes” means enterprises pass test for exclusion and are deemed commercially run under the criteria.

No guarantees under current governance regime.

Defined as the ratio of net profits to net worth in most recent year available.

State-owned corporation (SOC).

Debt level is defined as total liabilities to total asssets in most recent year in percent.

Debt cost is defined as the ratio of accrued 3-year financial costs to average total debt, including short and long-term debt, in percent.

Includes local listing.

Naftogaz’s has been supported by official comfort letters in its credit requests.

Special VAT regime on gas applied to Naftogaz sales. The regime did not explicitly included Naftogaz as a beneficiary, but placed implicit differentiated treatment.

Financial conditions reported with data for 2005.

Financial conditions reported based on 2005 data.

Percent of GDP.

Sources: Ukrainian authorities; Leonov and Zhuk (2005); and staff estimates.

“Yes” means enterprises pass test for exclusion and are deemed commercially run under the criteria.

No guarantees under current governance regime.

Defined as the ratio of net profits to net worth in most recent year available.

State-owned corporation (SOC).

Debt level is defined as total liabilities to total asssets in most recent year in percent.

Debt cost is defined as the ratio of accrued 3-year financial costs to average total debt, including short and long-term debt, in percent.

Includes local listing.

Naftogaz’s has been supported by official comfort letters in its credit requests.

Special VAT regime on gas applied to Naftogaz sales. The regime did not explicitly included Naftogaz as a beneficiary, but placed implicit differentiated treatment.

Financial conditions reported with data for 2005.

Financial conditions reported based on 2005 data.

Percent of GDP.

Managerial independence

48. SOEs have a varying degree of managerial independence—relatively low where the state has majority ownership. Most types of enterprises fail the test for managerial independence based on one or more of the following elements:

  • Under pricing is widespread. The kazenni have been designed to supply goods and services to the state below cost. Ordinary SOEs and key holding companies also tend to under price, particularly in ‘sensitive’ sectors, such as energy and household services. As an example, cost recovery rates for water supplied via communal enterprises ranged from 60 to 90 percent in 2003 (Padco, 2003).
  • Employment policies are not fully in line with market practices. Wage setting is based on labor union agreements for kazenni and ordinary SOEs (Leonov and Zhuk, 2005). More independence is given to those companies where government control is looser, but even for these the government has recently imposed restrictions on wages paid.
  • The commercial orientation of Ukrainian SOEs is weak. Many of the largest companies (including in the energy sector) hold the majority of their market or operate as monopolies. A large fraction of their turnover may be highly reliant on sales to the state and local governments. Studies suggest that managers have little or no experience in defining market-oriented policies, especially at the local level, for instance, the communal service providers (Leonov and Zhuk, 2005).

Relations of the SOEs with the government

49. In the case of Ukraine, the government and the SOEs do not maintain sufficient distance to prevent the emergence of risks.

  • Ukraine’s government has provided explicit and implicit guarantees to SOEs. Contingent liabilities could be above US$2.5 billion for Naftogaz alone.19 Data on the stock of explicit government guarantees to SOEs is not available, since official figures on total state guarantees do not identify the party contracting the loan, but they provide an upper bound for guaranteed SOE debt: as of end-2005, the stock exceeded 1¾ percent of GDP. In 2006, the budget provided for guarantees to SOEs for about ¼ percent of GDP.
  • There are significant fiscal linkages between Ukraine’s SOEs and the general government. First, direct gross annual inflows from SOEs to the budget are large. SOEs contribute an important share of tax collections (partial official figures suggest that, in 2005, remittance of current taxes was at least 5 percent of GDP, some 15 percent of total tax revenues), although accumulation of tax arrears has been frequent in the past.20 In addition, dividend transfers from SOEs have gained importance over time, both as a share of GDP and in terms of government revenues (Figure I.7). Second, gross transfers from the budget to SO4Es have grown recently, to about 5½ percent of GDP in 2005–06.
  • Key elements of the fiscal relation between SOEs and the government are discretionary. Notably, the policy for SOE dividend transfers to the budget is insufficiently clear. Transfer requirements have been constantly modified by the Cabinet of Ministers, enforcement has been poor (World Bank, 2006),21 and vagueness in the framework has led to disputes.22 The same tax regime applies for the private sector and SOEs, but exceptions exist in practice. For example, Naftogaz enjoyed a special VAT zero-rate on imports and sales of gas to intermediate consumers before 2006.23 Further, the enforcement of SOE tax collection is weak, partly due to the inability of the State Tax Administration to seize assets from key SOEs (ABN AMRO, 2004).

Figure I.7.Ukraine: Impact of SOEs on the General Government Balance

Sources: Ukrainian authorities; and staff estimates.

Financial conditions

50. State enterprises’ financial conditions are closely linked to the macro-fiscal risks they may generate. The risk-assessment framework calls for evaluating standardized indicators, including profitability, net income, and creditworthiness. Data availability in this area is very limited, both for specific SOEs, as well as for the aggregate. However, existing figures suggest a mixed picture, hinting at a build up of risks (Figure I.7).

  • Ukraine’s SOE performance has been generally weak. The kazenni, for example, have long been loss-making enterprises, owing both to their tight dependence on the availability of state orders, and the lack of market incentives they face. Ordinary SOE performance has suffered in the absence of a well-thought incentive scheme for managers, imperfect reporting standards, and monitoring at the ministerial level. There is a relatively high incidence of bankruptcy in SOEs—25 corporations with state share exceeding 25 percent went bankrupt in the first half of 2002 alone (Leonov and Zhuk, 2005).
  • Key indicators suggest weakening financial outturns for the aggregate of the SOEs going forward. Available official data on a subset of SOEs suggests, for example, than in 2005 the ratio of net profits over turnover reached only 3 ½ percent—well below the authorities’ planned ratio of 6½ percent. For 2006, financial plans agreed between the State Government nearly 3,000 SOEs (excluding state monopolies) project a ratio of net profits over turnover of 3½ percent, adjusted to the weaker outturn observed in the previous year. Moreover, the 2006 financial plans envisage some 180 SOEs to have either net losses or balanced profits by end-year (most of these are in the coal sector).

51. Indicators for corporations and holding companies eligible for privatization also point at a mix performance and growing risks in 2004–06 (Table I.5):

  • Despite a reduction in the net accounts payable, overall indebtedness increased. Net account payable rose in 2004–05, but the firms’ position improved in the first quarter of 2006—with a reduction of some US$85 million. The net payable overdue accounts also fell in early 2006, as did wage arrears. But a broader measure of indebtedness—the ratio of total liabilities over assets—suggests that the net obligations continue on a rising trend.
  • Tax compliance has deteriorated marginally. The share of tax arrears over tax liabilities rose from 9 to 11 percent between 2004 and 2005, and from 38 to 40 percent between the first quarter of 2005 and the first quarter of 2006.
  • Net worth has declined. Despite the improvement in net accounts payable, net worth has dropped slightly, by about US$100 million in 2004–05 and the first quarter of 2006. The reduction is driven by a large reduction in fixed assets owned by the sector—of some US$200 million—while liabilities have remained roughly constant at US$2.3 billion.
Table I.5.Broad indicators, Enterprises with a Government Share Participation 1/
In millions of hryvniasIn millions of U.S. dollars
200420052005 Q12006 Q1200420052005 Q12006 Q1
Net income12,14612,9193,3672,8362,2832,521635562
Pre-tax income8601,0421021371622031927
Net Profit214476-28494093-510
Accounts payable6,6337,1296,6256,6391,2471,3911,2501,315
Accounts payable, overdue4,2344,1314,0473,949796806764782
Accounts receivable2,4022,2802,5112,285452445474453
Accounts receivable, overdue53651460749510110011598
Net accounts payable4,2314,8494,1144,354795946776862
Net accounts payable overdue3,6983,6173,4403,453695706649684
Accrued taxes3,0133,101801669566605151132
Overdue taxes27532830626652645853
Wage arrears67316525136125
Fixed assets10,95311,53910,65810,7242,0592,2522,0112,124
Operating assets4,9886,4214,8726,3399381,2539191,255
Long-term financial investment2,7522,0312,7171,972517396513390
Net worth11,01910,64010,6179,9912,0722,0762,0041,978
Key indicators
Profitability 2/1.94.5-0.30.5
Indebtedness 3/66.867.568.368.2
Return to investment 4/441.4636.1124.0143.9
Number of enterprises1,4051,3161,142
Number of employees196,199174,411189,710
Exchange rate (average)
Source: State Property Fund.

Includes corporations and holding companies with government share of 50 percent or more.

Net profit over net worth.

Liabilties over assets.

Long-term financial investment over net income.

Source: State Property Fund.

Includes corporations and holding companies with government share of 50 percent or more.

Net profit over net worth.

Liabilties over assets.

Long-term financial investment over net income.

Governance structure

52. Despite efforts to strengthen SOE oversight and monitoring in Ukraine, weaknesses and fragmentation remain:

  • There is no higher entity with full oversight of the SOE sector. The State Property Fund (SPF) manages all state property undergoing privatization. Key strategic firms, such as Naftogaz, remain under direct responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers. Other state property (such as the kazenni and ordinary SOEs) are under the control of ministries and other bodies, which can grant SOE status, reorganize and liquidate state property, and appoint the management independently. The Ministry of Economy is responsible for evaluating SOE performance, but this is not done consistently or thoroughly for all enterprises, or with enough frequency (IMF, 2004; World Bank, 2006).
  • The mechanisms for financial planning and monitoring of SOEs are gradually improving, but key weaknesses persist. The Economic Code (Article 75) mandates SOEs to prepare annual and quarterly financial plans, which they submit to the ministries or government bodies that have direct oversight responsibility. Since March 2006, the Ministry of Finance has the explicit mandate to coordinate and agree the financial plans; however, data coverage and content requirements have been continuously modified, and there have been significant delays in the agreement of the plans. This has made performance monitoring by the Ministry of Economy difficult. Further, while SOEs may issue debt on domestic and international markets without prior government approval, they have only recently been required to submit detailed information on their assets and liabilities to the state authority.
  • Efforts are being made to strengthen the audit of SOEs. In January 2006, amendments to the state auditing law granted authority to the central internal audit body (KRU) to undertake financial and performance audits of SOEs. The KRU is developing methodologies and preparing a work program to audit and strengthen SOE oversight, although this is not fully consistent with the public internal financial control concept adopted as the KRU’s long term goal (World Bank, 2006). The Accounting Chamber (SAI) also has authority to audit the SOE’s use of budget funds. Finally, independent audits by reputable agencies have started for a few major SOEs participating in international capital markets (including Naftogaz), but these are not mandated by law.
  • The SOE regulatory framework is being strengthened, but some weaknesses may still endanger minority rights. The Economic Code provides for various types of legal entities, including SOEs (Chapters 8 and Chapters 12). Until recently, regulations had important loopholes which led to asset-stripping practices (Leonov and Zhuk, 2005). Public state-owned corporations and state-owned holdings are subject to the general corporate legal framework, but this remains incomplete and ambiguous, and prone to inconsistencies in judicial interpretation (ABN AMRO, 2004). Finally, the inability to seize assets from SOEs continues to raise creditors’ risk and minority rights. New laws on holding companies and state property management were approved in 2006, but their full effectiveness remains to be seen.

Other risk factors

53. Other factors, related to ‘strategic importance’ may heighten macro-fiscal risks. The existence of key enterprises, with high turnover and employed labor, creates incentives for the government to protect them in case of failure. For instance, the turnover of Naftogaz (close to 12 ½ percent of GDP), the size of its labor force (some 172,000 employees) and its central role in the gas market may lead to special attention.

Appendix I.1
Table I.A.1. Key GEM-Energy-Ukraine model parameters
RoW 1/Home
Production parameters
Capital share in nontradables0.2900.290
Capital share in tradables0.3500.350
Energy share in nontradables0.0220.062
Energy share in tradables0.0240.067
Land share0.1250.087
Share of energy in final good0.0350.088
Elasticities of substitution
Nontradable production1.0001.000
Tradable production1.0001.000
Oil production0.9800.200
Domestic and foreign energy, nontradables100100
Domestic and foreign energy, tradables100100
Energy and tradables in final good0.1750.150
Home and foreign energy1010
Input substitution100100
Home bias
Nontradable production energy demand1.000.18
Tradable production energy demand1.000.18
Energy in final good1.000.33
Adjustment cost on energy in nontradables production200200
Adjustment cost on energy in tradables production200200
Distribution of energy to intermediate goods producers0.330.33
Distribution of energy to final goods producers0.330.33
Country size0.980.02
Sources: IMF staff estimates.

Rest of world, comprising the CIS states, EU new member states and EU periphery (Southeast Europe and Turkey).

Sources: IMF staff estimates.

Rest of world, comprising the CIS states, EU new member states and EU periphery (Southeast Europe and Turkey).


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1Prepared by Mark Flanagan.
2The use of energy prices, as opposed to gas prices, should not distort results, since substitutability is high. It has the advantage of increasing the variability in the data, which allows for more precise estimates.
3Tests reject heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation, but show some evidence of non-normality. A model using the GDP deflator in place of CPI inflation has somewhat better residual properties, at the cost of less precise estimates.
4The World Bank (2005c) uses a similar approach, but includes all gas usage—not just intermediate—in its measure, and adjusts the estimated impact for energy savings, based on oil price demand elasticities in the OECD. Higher prices for gas that is consumed should have no impact on production decisions, unless consumers face a binding finance constraint, and must reduce their total purchases of goods and services in response to the price hike. The high price elasticities used are also open to question since even after the gas price increases, gas remains inexpensive in Ukraine relative to its closest substitute (oil).
5The share of profits and mixed income in national income fell by 4.7 percent, while the percentage of profit making firms declined by 5 percent. See also Chapter III, Box III.2.
7The Kyiv-based Institute for Economic Research has estimated the impact of the shock in Ukraine using an alternative structural approach, a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. See IER (2006) and Table I.2. One advantage of CGE models is that they allow attention to sectoral impacts, and the IER calculates that the impacts will be greatest in the gas-intensive metallurgy and chemical sectors. The disadvantage is the lack of dynamics—the model essentially gives before and after snapshots.
8Since gas is about 46 percent of total primary energy supply in Ukraine (see Table this is equivalent to a 18 percent improvement in overall energy efficiency.
9Prepared by María González.
10As noted by Tchaidze (2003), QFDs mostly entail an implicit subsidy, and can be duplicated by budgetary measures (i.e. an explicit tax, subsidy or direct expenditure).
11Naftogaz credit ratings by Fitch remain at a B+/stable outlook, under the expectation that the government will pass through the gas import price shock in 2007.
12Excess technical losses caused by underinvestment have been assumed to remain constant at 5 percent of total production, following Saavalainen and ten Berge (2006).
13Implying an increase of over 25 percent in the US-dollar denominated import gas price between 2007–10.
14Even if tariffs to heating and power companies were raised, these would likely not be allowed to pass through such increases to households. Without pass-through, power and heating companies would themselves face QFDs that may be proxied by the losses observed in the case in which gas tariffs are not adjusted.
15Data on excess technical losses are unavailable, but could raise the size of the QFD.
16Estimates likely overstate surpluses accruing to SOEs, since they are estimated on the basis of total electricity consumption, including that supplied by private participants.
17As of October 2006, the state had majority participation in 4,428 enterprises, including 9 enterprises subordinated to the Cabinet of Ministers, and 8 natural monopolies, and 419 firms classified as “economic transactors.” Communal service companies belonging to local governments were estimated at 14,705 in mid-2002 and are not included in this review.
18The framework was first presented in IMF (2004) and later refined in IMF (2005).
19Naftogaz’s 2005 financial statement notes that the Ministry of Fuel and Energy provided a letter to support negotiation of a syndicated loan by Naftogaz in 2006, for US$260 million.
20Information on the total stock of tax arrears from SOEs is not available.
21Profit transfers of 15 percent were required in 2003; but the 2006 financial plans suggest that transfers will be, on average, some 50 percent of the companies’ net profits.
22For joint stock companies, it is under discussion whether profit transfers should be made on the basis of the consolidated financial results or on the basis of the net profits of the parent and subsidiary firms separately.
23This regime sought to curtail Naftogaz arrears by shifting the tax liability to the final consumers.

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