Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk reports on the work done during the first 100 days of his cabinet in Kiev, March 12, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
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With the first billions of dollars foreign aid in its pocket, Ukraine's government can now stay afloat long enough to embark on its radical reform drive, but the hard part is only just beginning.Ukraine received the first $5 billion Friday of $17.5 billion in aid promised by the International Monetary Fund. Naftogaz ran a 110 billion hryvnia deficit last year, now worth around $4 billion and equivalent to nearly 6 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to the government.Under proposed reforms, Naftogaz will bring retail and industrial prices closer to market rates, audit the regional gas firms and meter the flow of gas throughout the supply chain, according to a government document sent to the IMF.In an example of the powerful interests that could be affected, stakes in several of the regional gas firms are held by billionaire industrialist Dmytro Firtash, who also controls a large chunk of Ukraine's chemical industry, among the biggest industrial consumers of gas.A spokesman for Regional Gas Company, a management firm for around 20 Ukrainian gas distributors which includes some owned or part-owned by Firtash, said no instances had been recorded of its firms selling gas for household prices to industry.
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