Regional business met with the leadership of the Odesa Regional State Administration
Today on the agenda are very important issues for business and the public of the region. Therefore, the EBA Southern Ukrainian Office initiated a dialogue with the leadership of the Odesa Regional State Administration (hereinunder — ‘’Odesa RSA’’). Thus, on April 27, 2021, the online event was attended by Deputy Head of the Odesa RSA Oleg Muratov, Director of the Department of Economic Policy and Strategic Planning of the Odesa RSA Dmytro Radulov,Head of International Relations of the Odesa RSA Roman Grigorishin, Deputy Director of the Department of Health of Odesa RSA Aram Atashyan.
Discussions we began with the issue that worries not only the company but also all residents of Odesa region – the state of the epidemiological situation and vaccination against COVID-19 in the region to find out, what measures are being taken to stop the spread of the virus in the region and management’s intentions to continue tendencies to weaken quarantine restrictions, as the worries of enterprises about their re-strengthening are well-founded. It should be noted that in the context of the pandemic situation, the state has focused on digitalization and the development of digital transformation. In addition, the Department of Economic Policy and Strategic Planning of the Odesa RSA recently approved the Regional Program for Digital Transformation of the Odesa region for 2021-2023.
The participants also focused on the economic development of the region, improving investment attractiveness and its integration into the EU, as the key priorities of the European Business Association are to protect the legitimate interests of foreign and domestic investors, establish close contacts between member companies and address important issues for Ukraine’s investment climate.
We received feedback from the Odesa RSA on further cooperation with business in the context of quarantine restrictions, programs, decisions of the Odesa RSA for the economic development of the region. In particular, according to speech of the Deputy Head of the Odesa RSA Oleg Muratov, at the last session of the Odesa RSA changes were made to the Regional Development Strategy for 2021-2027 and the Development Plan for 2021-2023. He also noted participation in the Great Construction of the President’s Program. Odesa RSA has a number of facilities in which business representatives already participate both as general contractors and as subcontractors. In addition, the agency has recently launched new programs to partially reimburse interest rates on loans and to conduct international activities that can be beneficial for business development. In general, the following areas are a priority for the Odesa RSA: ensuring the uninterrupted operation of strategic, city-forming enterprises; preparation for the start and implementation of land reform; implementation of a pilot project to restore irrigation in the South of Odesa region; concluding an agreement on cooperation with the Southern Office of the State Audit Service of Ukraine, etc.
Kateryna Morozova, Head of the EBA Southern Ukrainian Office, spoke in more detail about the issues of the Odesa region and shared her vision for its development in 2021. Namely, she voiced the priorities of regional companies in the following areas: improvement and modernization of transport infrastructure, opening of the land market and urgent issues of farmers in southern Ukraine, improving the efficiency of environmental policy and hazardous waste management in Odesa region. Some comments on the above issues were provided by the EBA Odesa Coordination Council Members and the EBA Odesa Committees’ and Working Group’ Heads.
Thus, according to the Chairman of the EBA Odesa Coordination Council, Co-Chairman of the EBA Customs Committee, Co-founder of LAMARIN Alexander Lazarev, one of the problems faced by logistics companies in their activities is the digitalization of relations in the port industry. Currently, despite the pandemic, companies regularly receive requests for documents that have already been submitted electronically. Mr. Lazarev also noted that there are problems in the audit of customs procedures.
Natalia Goodkova, Chairman of the EBA Odesa Transport Working Group, Lawyer, Managing Partner of ADVISERS LAW COMPANY, noted that the Odesa seaport is of strategic importance for the state’s economy. Currently, there is a problem related to the lack of unimpeded and free entry and exit of freight transport on the territory of the Odesa seaport. Thus, the construction of an alternative Road to the port has recently started and there are already the first reports on the progress of the issue. However, in order to systematically implement this project, it is necessary to further promote: the allocation of public funding sufficient for the project in the nearest future, the allocation of land for construction, obtaining permits and more.
According to the Chairman of the EBA Odesa Agrarian Working Group, CEO of Agro Yug Vladislav Blumberg, 2020 was a very difficult year for farmers, and also for the the wine industry. Mr. Blumberg noted that the situation is complicated by droughts, which affect the amount of harvest. In addition, the wine industry is a hallmark of the region, as Odesa provides two-thirds of Ukrainian production. So, now farmers need state support more than ever.
Vitaliy Dankevych, Chairman of the EBA Odesa Ecological Working Group, Director of UkrEcoProm, drew the agency’s attention to one of the most acute environmental problems of the region, which significantly affects not only the socio-economic situation but also national security, utilization and disinfection of industrial waste of I-III hazard class. Also, due to the significant spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19, the amount of infected medical waste is progressively increasing. This leads to the release of hazardous waste at landfills, the spread of unauthorized landfills, the accumulation of infected materials, etc.
Finally, to improve the situation in the region, business expect for a development of transport infrastructure, control and improve the environmental situation and solve the problem of particularly hazardous waste, open the land market, support farmers and businesses and more. We hope that the voice of business will be heard, and the proposals that were voiced at the meeting will be included in the development programs of the region and implemented in the nearest future.