Dialogue between state authorities and business: meeting with the President and government representatives
Today the European Business Association and other business unions met with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman and his team.
The meeting was devoted to issues of strategic planning and reform of the economy and public administration, as well as current challenges facing business in Ukraine.
Borys Lozhkin, the Secretary of the National Investment Council, moderated this event.
THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE
The President shared the key achievements of state transformation over the past year, in particular, he described the progress of reforms, modernisation of the state apparatus, and new legislative initiatives. In particular, he updated about the pace of reforms, positive changes in the work of the state apparatus as well as the main achievements since the previous time he spoke with the European Business Association.
The President also underlined the stabilisation of the economic situation: GDP growth in the latest six quarters; EU Association Agreement coming into force and visa-free regime; facilitation of trading with EU member states; radical change of macroeconomic situation; increase in revenue for local and state budgets; reduction of inflation; automatic VAT refund and online registration etc. Mr Poroshenko paid special attention to energy sector reform and changes in the agrarian sphere, infrastructure and road construction, and the necessity of privatisation.
In addition, the Head of the State mentioned the barriers, which affect business activity, namely, he stressed the necessity of court, medical, and pension reforms. At the same time, the President appealed to the state authorities with special attention to law enforcement bodies, asking to be more open for communication with business and society. In this regard, the Service on Financial Investigations is still very relevant, the President commented.
THE PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE
Volodymyr Groysman, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, shared the concrete steps that had been already implemented, such as the “Single window” system at customs and “Prozorro” state tender system. He also assured the audience that problems with practical functioning of these novelties would be solved. Mr Groysman also elaborated about his priority plans – the State Budget 2018, which does not foresee any increase of taxes for business; court and pension reforms which will be soon implemented; new laws in the area of privatisation etc.
THE EBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
In her turn, EBA Executive Director Anna Derevyanko marked the importance of frank and open dialogue between the state authorities and business community and pointed out that investors noticed positive changes. She informed that 86% of EBA member companies responded in a recent survey that they are planning to expand their business in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, the realisation of such aspirations needs equal and certain rules of the game, namely: tax fairness, unshadowing of salaries, balancing the Pension Fund, the need to control schemes of importing automobiles, eliminate the current lack of railway wagons, counteract counterfeit alcoholic beverages, improve the registration process for veterinary preparations, ensure equal opportunities for blending for grain market participants, provide access to innovative agrochemicals on the Ukrainian market and much more.
Moreover, Ms Derevyanko stressed the key problems holding back business development in Ukraine – high level of corruption, weak court system, monopoly on certain markets, unstable financial system, pressure from law enforcement bodies etc.
TASKS FROM BUSINESS
In addition, representatives of the business community raised numerous industry issues, such as the need to properly control Internet commerce, prevent concessions in the forestry sector, introduce medical reform, improve the VAT reimbursement mechanism, eliminate the current lack of railway wagons, counteract counterfeit alcoholic beverages turnover, improve the registration process for veterinary medicines, ensure equal opportunities for blending for grain market participants, provide access to innovative agrochemicals on the Ukrainian market, improve the work of the Single Window system at Customs and much more.
The European Business Association has prepared a list of key issues facing business and proposals for the President. We hope that our comments will be taken under personal consideration, as the Head of State assured that business needs will not be ignored, and he will contribute in every way with real steps to improve the business climate in Ukraine.
On behalf of EBA member companies, we sincerely thank Mr. Poroshenko and his colleagues for constructive dialogue, openness and attention to business issues. We are also grateful to Borys Lozhkin for moderation of our discussion as well as to our colleagues from the Presidential Administration and the National Investment Council for their kind assistance in the organisation of this event.