Neutrality again: How investors evaluate business climate before the elections
Investment attractiveness index of Ukraine according to the version of top managers of the EBA member companies continues to be in a neutral area. This time, index slightly decreased and amounted to 3,07 points (on a 5-point scale).
115 CEOs of the largest international and Ukrainian companies took part in the survey and traditionally shared their impressions and forecasts of the investment climate in Ukraine.
During the last year, there has been a series of positive developments notable for business. Thus, top managers of the EBA member companies marked the liberalization of currency legislation, the relative stability of the national currency and the level of inflation, the implementation of effective methods of fight against raider attacks, revitalizing the economy and developing electronic services, and a continuous dialogue of state authorities with business. You can find more about top remarkable moments for business in the EBA press release.
The results of our survey showed that investors’ mood has become more moderate. During the last wave of the survey, the number of dissatisfied with the investment climates was 38%, but now their percentage slightly increased to 40%. The percentage of those satisfied with the current state has also decreased, if compared with the result of the previous wave. Currently, 25% of top managers consider the business climate to be favorable (at the beginning of 2018 there was 28%).
According to the majority of investors, the investment climate has not changed significantly. The “old” problems, such as the ineffective fight against corruption and distrust in the judicial system, still exist. New concerns appeared as well, related to the introduction of the martial law and pre-election period. Among the top problems, investors noted a high level of corruption (78% of respondents are critically dissatisfied with it), distrust of the judiciary – 74%, no land reform – 66% and shadow economy – 65%.
Now, investors take it slow to make optimistic forecasts about the future. 53% of СEOs believe that the business climate in Ukraine will remain unchanged in the first half of 2019. Similarly, half of respondents believe that the conditions for their business will remain unchanged. However, despite this, 42% believe that Ukraine is still an attractive market for investing in the next 6 months.
Integrated index remains at approximately the same level since 2017. Obviously, this is a result of transformation processes in Ukraine. Before the elections, top managers become more cautious in their forecasts. Therefore, for business, it is important that the next year does not bring radical changes and fluctuations within the country. We must continue the course on the reforms announced by Ukraine. Populism and rash decisions should not hinder our progress.
In addition, we asked CEOs their view of possible introduction of an exit capital tax. The results were as follows: 32% support the idea of introducing exit capital tax, another 18% support the comments, while 35% could not determine and 10% opposed.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
We asked the top managers, what changes are needed for a noticable shift for the better. Most investors are waiting for real progress in the introduction of the rule of law and fight against corruption, political stability, the fight against smuggling and shadow economy, high-quality judicial reform, free land market, transparent privatization, improvement of infrastructure and protection of intellectual property rights