Business news from Ukraine

Ukraine’s leading business associations once again ask to finalize draft bill on BEB

Business associations under the auspices of the Ukrainian Business Council are asking to finalize the government’s updated draft law on the Economic Security Bureau (#10439), as it leaves unaccounted for important proposals that jeopardize the reboot of the BEB.

“The most critical of the unaccounted proposals is the composition of the competitive commissions for the recertification of personnel and the mechanism for conducting the recertifications,” the 17 associations said in a statement circulated Thursday.

In their opinion, the detailed mechanism of re-certification should be set out in the draft law, and the commissions themselves should have a predominant voice of international experts who have an impeccable reputation and are well versed in the problems of law enforcement agencies.

Among other ignored proposals, the business pointed out the strengthening of the analytical function of the Bureau by providing free access for the BEB to existing state information systems and establishing criteria for the effectiveness of the work of the renewed BEB and their constant monitoring.

In addition, the appeal notes, it is important to limit access to positions in the BEB to persons with a dubious reputation based on the principle of reasonable doubt, given the small number of corruption cases that have resulted in convictions.

It is also crucial to retain in the final version of the draft the right to an overwhelming vote of international experts when electing the chairperson of the OIE, the document says.

In addition, in order to establish safeguards against unlawful pressure on business by law enforcement agencies, simultaneously with the reset of the BEB, the business requires amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding the introduction of standards of prosecutorial activity, limiting the powers of the National Police and the BEB in terms of assigning instructions to SBU operatives, ensuring the possibility of appealing to the investigating judge against any actions or inaction of the investigator, inquirer, prosecutor.

In addition, the business proposes to introduce a ban on reopening proceedings on the same grounds and seizure of material assets not specified in the ruling of the investigating judge, to establish responsible storage and immediate return to the owners of seized property after the decision, to select a reasonable level of bail and interim measures.

Among other requirements – to impose on investigating judges the obligation to verify compliance with the requirements of jurisdiction and to return the terms of pre-trial investigation and the procedure for their extension in actual criminal proceedings, except for serious and especially serious crimes, referred to the jurisdiction of NABU.

At the same time, the associations noted that the updated government bill on the BEB took into account a number of proposals of the business community, in particular, the election of applicants for the post of the head of the Bureau by a commission with a predominant vote of international experts, immediate recertification of all employees of the Bureau and audit one year and three years after the appointment of a new head.

According to the forecast of Yaroslav Zheleznyak, the first deputy of the Rada’s specialized committee, the bill #10439 will be put to a vote in the first reading as early as Thursday.

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US Senate approves bill on temporary government funding

The U.S. Senate has approved a temporary funding bill aimed at averting a government shutdown, previously approved by the House of Representatives, Reuters reported on Saturday.

The Senate, with a Democratic majority of 88 to 9, voted to pass the measure to avoid the fourth partial shutdown of the federal government in a decade, sending it to President Joe Biden to sign into law before a deadline of 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (07:01 a.m. Kyiv time – IF-U).

Earlier, the House of Representatives voted 335 to 91 to fund the government through November 17, with more Democrats than Republicans supporting it.

“The American people can breathe a sigh of relief: There will be no government shutdown tonight,” Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the vote. “From the beginning, Democrats have said that the only solution to avoid a shutdown is bipartisanship, and we are pleased that Speaker McCarthy has finally listened to our message.”

Democratic Senator Michael Bennett held up the bill for several hours in an attempt to negotiate a deal on further aid to Ukraine.

“While I would have preferred to pass the bill now with additional assistance for Ukraine, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, it is easier to help Ukraine with an open government than if it were closed,” said Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen.

Earlier it was reported that the bill on temporary funding does not include US assistance to Ukraine.

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Verkhovna Rada supported in second reading bill on simplification of small producers of distillates

The Verkhovna Rada supported in the second reading and as a whole the bill No. 5762 on simplification of conditions for the production of distillates by small business entities, the head of the parliamentary committee on finance, tax and customs policy Daniel Getmantsev said.
“The law should bring the current legislation in the sphere of production and circulation of alcoholic beverages and distillates in line with EU requirements, as well as relax the regulation in this sphere for small business entities,” he wrote in Telegram on Thursday.
In the law ¹ 5762 “On amendments to the TCU and some laws of Ukraine on the simplification of the conditions of production of distillates by small business entities” the definition of small producers of distillates and requirements for their material and technical base are presented.
Small manufacturers of distillates are allowed to report on the volume of products manufactured and sold quarterly (instead of monthly), as well as reduced fines for failure or incorrect submission of such reports from 17 500 to 1 020 UAH.
The document reduced the cost of licenses for wholesale of alcoholic beverages for small producers of distillates from 500 thousand UAH to 30 thousand UAH, it is also allowed to use all alcoholic distillates, derived from agricultural products for the production of alcoholic beverages.
The law cancels the mandatory certification of alcohol, distillates, bioethanol, alcoholic beverages, explained the head of the financial parliamentary committee.

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Verkhovna Rada upheld in first reading bill to abolish from July 1 flat tax 2%

The Verkhovna Rada has supported in the first reading the government’s bill #8401 on the abolition of a flat tax of 2% and other benefits for entrepreneurs starting July 1, 2023. This is one of the conditions for cooperation with the IMF and the dragging out of the bill has caused concern.
According to information on the website of the Rada, 227 people’s deputies voted for the adoption of the bill, with the required minimum of 226 votes.
“The adoption of the bill will increase revenues to the state and local budgets in 2023 in the amount of about 10 billion UAH,” Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko commented on the parliament’s decision.
According to published information, the bill proposes to cancel the possibility for sole proprietors and legal entities to be single tax payers of group III with the application of the single tax rate of 2% of income and to resume payment of single tax for groups I and II FLP.
The bill provides for the resumption of documentary checks, but during martial law they will be held in the presence of safe access to areas, premises and other property used for economic activities and / or taxable objects, as well as documents and other information related to the calculation and payment of taxes and fees.
The ministry noted that it is proposed to resume the application of penalties for violations of tax laws, the correctness of the calculation, calculation and payment of a single fee for obligatory state social insurance and the use of BPR / BPR and resume the terms defined in the tax law.
Marchenko stressed that the bill does not provide for an increase in taxes and does not introduce new tax rates, and the rules are aimed primarily at bringing the tax laws back to their pre-war state.
The law is expected to take effect July 1, 2023 – as stipulated by agreements with the IMF.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the bill is one of the 19 structural beacons of the four-year, $15.6 billion EFF program for Ukraine, which was approved by the IMF Board of Directors on March 31.
The program’s schedule calls for three tranches of SDR664 million ($893 million) to be disbursed to Ukraine after the first tranche in mid-June and October this year and in late February the following year after the first, second and third revisions, when commitments are evaluated for the end of April, June and December this year, respectively.
The IMF mission on the first review of the program is currently working in Vienna. Its results may be as early as the end of May.


Cabinet has prepared and submitted to Rada bill “On grapes and grape products

The draft law “On grapes and wine products” (#9139) the government registered in the Verkhovna Rada on March 22 aims to implement relevant EU regulations on winegrowing and winemaking, enological practices, production of flavored wine products, use and protection of geographical indications of wine.
“At the same time, the purpose of the bill is to create a unified state information system “Vine and Wine Register”, which will include information on: producers of grapes; wine products; vineyard plots; mandatory declarations and other data on wine products provided by this law, the introduction of information in which is mandatory, ensuring the effective administration and state support of the viticulture and wine industry,” – also stated in the explanatory
The document implies the introduction of requirements for the production and circulation of wines, products of viticulture and winemaking, flavored wine products with geographical indications, similar to the current rules in the EU. In particular, blending of wine produced in Ukraine with imported wine as well as wine produced outside Ukraine is not allowed.
In addition, the bill provides for the possibility of state support for viticulture and winemaking in the framework of the general laws “On state support of agriculture” and “On the specifics of insurance of agricultural products with state support” without any details, except for the principles of objectivity, equality and proportionality.
The document also contains the principles of inspection of wine production from the vine bush to the final product, defines the controlling institutions and their powers and specifies sanctions, the explanatory note states.

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Ukrainian Parliament passed bill on compensation for damaged housing

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has adopted in general draft law No. 7198 on the creation of a state register of housing damaged and destroyed as a result of Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine, and the procedure for compensation for it.
The bill was supported by 275 people’s deputies at Thursday’s meeting, Yaroslav Zheleznyak, a member of the Golos faction, said in a Telegram feed.
According to the draft law, compensation will be provided only for residential property damaged or destroyed since February 24, 2022. At the same time, the law does not apply to the objects that on the date of martial law were located in the temporarily occupied territories.
Owners of apartments and other residential premises will be able to receive a housing certificate confirming guarantees of the state to finance the purchase of housing (including those built in the future) within a certain amount, while owners of private houses will have a choice between receiving a certificate and monetary compensation. Such monetary compensation will be accrued in a special regime to finance construction.
The bill does not set a limit on the amount of compensation, as well as limits on the location, type and size of new housing financed by the certificate. At the same time, if the cost of housing will be lower than the amount specified in the certificate, the balance of compensation will be paid only at the expense of funds received from the Russian Federation for the reimbursement of damages.
The term for applying for compensation is during martial law and within one year after its cancellation. It is possible to use the certificate within five years from the date of its issue, and it is prohibited to alienate housing (except inheritance) for five years.
The applications will be considered by the commissions for consideration of compensation established by the executive bodies of local councils, military or civilian-military administrations.
According to the draft law, sources of financing of compensations can be state and local budgets; funds from international financial organizations, creditors and investors; international technical and/or refundable or non-refundable financial aid; reparations or other recoveries from Russia and others.
As reported, Ukrainians have already submitted more than 325,000 reports of destruction or damage to housing through Diya

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