Positive achievements of the past should not be a reason for prosecution
Reducing the port fees at Ukrainian seaports has always been an issue that businesses have raised in dialogue with public authorities, in particular, with the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine. After all, adequate port fees rates are extremely important for increasing the investment attractiveness of our country and strengthening the position and competitiveness of Ukrainian ports in comparison with other ports of the Black Sea basin. Besides, the agricultural sector is one of the foundations of economic development which currently generates 17% of Ukraine’s GDP. Thus, agriculture is an export-oriented industry that is highly dependent on the quality of infrastructure and logistics in the country which leaves much to be desired.
The port fees rates in Ukraine are not competitive compared to other countries, so, in fact, the business has always advocated for their reduction and bringing to an economically justified level. Two years ago, the voice of business was heard, and so the first step was taken – the Government supported the initiative to reduce port fees by 20%. The relevant order of the Ministry of Infrastructure came into force on January 30, 2018.
This week it became known that the former Minister of Infrastructure was invited to NABU to give additional evidence in criminal proceedings regarding the 20% reduction of port tariffs and fees by the Government of Ukraine in 2018. Moreover, NABU claims that the reduction of port tariffs and fees has caused losses to the state.
Several years ago, the decision to reduce port fees was supported by business, and further work in this direction is welcome. At the same time, the current situation with this issue looks strange. After all, we as a country are moving towards high-quality and constructive reforms that create favorable conditions for doing business, working, attracting investment. However, if the change agents are being prosecuted and punished for their initiative and decisions, the question arises - whether others will be ready to take responsibility and initiate quality changes to implement real reforms in the country. I think it is worth thinking about because I really want to believe that our goal is the same - to build a strong and competitive country.
According to business, the reduction of port fees is one of the important achievements in the port industry, which allowed to increase cargo flow even in times of crisis. Therefore, the community hopes that the positive achievements of the past will not be reversed and we as a country will continue the free and independent movement towards reforms in Ukraine.