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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine Prepares Draft Plan To Legalize Land Ownership

KIEV -- The Ukrainian government will soon submit a plan to parliament on legalizing land ownership in the former Soviet state, a senior government official said Friday.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, re-elected last year on pledges to speed up reforms in the country of 50 million people, signed a decree last December ordering the transformation of collective farms into private ownership by April 2000.

But Kuchma's decree stopped short of any mention of private land ownership and is seen by many as a half-measure.

"This new land code is a key condition of our land reform launched last year," Anatoly Danylenko, head of the State Land Resources Committee, told reporters after a government meeting.

"The code is to introduce land ownership in the country and will allow people to use land as collateral."

Danylenko said the Cabinet would ask deputies to adopt the code as soon as possible.

Analysts, however, say the draft is likely to be given a hostile reception by powerful leftist factions.

He added the draft land code would allow foreigners to buy nonarable land in towns or allotments on which industrial companies were located. He gave no further details.

Danylenko said official data shows the average price of one hectare of arable land is 8,000 hryvnas ($1,475), adding that land prices might skyrocket after the land code has been passed.