•The International Monetary Fund established 12 “beacons” for Ukraine in a draft memo regarding the next loan tranche for the country, Ekonomicheskaya Pravda reported. The IMF expects Ukraine to raise the retirement age, reduce the number of civil servants and government employees, cancel simplified taxation and create a market for land parcels in 2017, among other things.
•Ukraine has extended a deadline for bidding on land parcels to build solar power plants in the Chernobyl exclusion zone until March 1, Interfax Ukraine reported. The government agency overseeing the process said the decision was based on the fact that it had received “many requests from foreign investors.” More than 1,100 hectares at the site has been earmarked for construction of solar power plants.
•More than 50 new solar photovoltaic projects with a total capacity of 488 megawatts will be installed in Ukraine this year, according to SolarServer.com. The main players in the Ukrainian market are Rentechno, Helios Strategia, US Solar, Rengy Development, Eco Optima and Paradigma Invest Group.
•The liquidation of Ukrainian banks continues apace as two more banks, PC Bank and Finbank, announced news to that effect, Interfax Ukraine reported.
•Ukrzaliznytsia is launching high-speed rail service today between Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk, Unian reported. Later this year, Ukraine will introduce direct rail service to Hungary, and the government is also studying a proposal to add Slovakia as a destination for direct rail service, according to Novoe Vremya.
•Ukraine is contracting with Germany's Andritz Hydro to refurbish the Dnipro hydroelectric plant, which was built in 1932, Unian reported. The deal exemplifies Ukrhydroenergo's plans to invest about $3 billion to help the country achieve its target of doubling hydropower's share of the Ukrainian energy portfolio, to 15.5 percent.
•Ukraine and Singapore signed memorandums of understating to promote research and development and facilitate investments, according to Ukrinform. The documents outline efforts to promote research and development, share best practices in good governance and facilitate investment.
•Naftogaz signed a $6.3 million contract to have a New York law firm represent the company in its arbitration case against Russia for refund of assets lost in the Russian annexation of Crimea.
•Ukraine collected a record grain harvest of 66 million tons in 2016, multiple news outlets reported, using data from the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. Ukraine also set a new record for the export of grain in 2016.
•The annual turnover of container ports in Ukraine increased by almost a quarter, the Maritime Herald reported. Overall for the year, more than 8 million tons of containerized cargo was processed.
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