Business news from Ukraine

Verkhovna Rada is proposed to adopt as whole draft law that expands powers of local authorities during war

The Parliamentary Committee on the Organization of State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development and Urban Planning

has recommended that the Verkhovna Rada adopt in the second reading and as a whole the draft law on amendments to certain laws on expanding the powers of local governments to support the security and defense sector of Ukraine (No. 9559-d), the press service of the Verkhovna Rada’s apparatus reports.

The draft law proposes to amend the laws “On Local Self-Government in Ukraine” and “On Prevention of Corruption” to expand the powers of local governments to provide financial and material support to the security and defense sector during martial law or a state of emergency.

The draft law provides for empowering executive bodies of village, town and city councils to build, equip and maintain engineering and fortification structures.

According to the draft law, local authorities may approve local budgets and amend them, approve programs of socio-economic and cultural development, targeted programs on other local government issues, transfer funds in the form of intergovernmental transfers to the relevant local budgets in the event of temporary occupation of a territorial community and the failure to establish a military administration.

The draft law also provides for the possibility of appointing a village, town or city mayor to the position of head of the relevant military administration of the settlement(s) without dismissal. In addition, the draft law allows civil servants and local self-government officials who are on unpaid leave or in the event of downtime or suspension of their employment contract to be appointed to positions in other state and local government bodies, military administrations, and legal entities under public law.

The draft law also expands the organizational capacity of the leadership of regional and district councils under martial law in the event of a vacancy in the position of the chairman of such council.

The draft law also regulates the procedure for holding remote meetings of local self-government bodies.

The Verkhovna Rada adopted draft law No. 9559-d as a basis on April 11.

MTIBU has created free online course on basics of new law on CMTPL

The Motor (Transport) Insurance Bureau of Ukraine (MTIBU) will conduct an introductory course on the main provisions of the draft law “On Compulsory Insurance of Civil Liability of Owners of Land Vehicles” in connection with the adoption of the draft law by the Verkhovna Rada on May 21, 2024, the Bureau’s website reports.

The introductory course will consist of four sessions (by sections of the draft law), which will be held on the official YouTube channel of the MTIBU on Fridays at 10:00 a.m., lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes, of which 30 minutes will be allocated for answering questions.

Approximate plan of lectures: 1 session: Basic principles of the New Law on MTPL and the procedure for concluding insurance contracts (I-II sections of the draft law), 2-3 sessions: Settlement of insurance claims and the procedure for making payments (Section III of the draft law), Session 4: Updating the functional work of the MTIBU and the basic principles of insurance companies’ membership in the Bureau (Section IV of the draft law).

To participate in the online course, you do not need to register, just follow the link on the specified day at 10:00.

Session links:





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Polish Parliament approves amendments to law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens

On Wednesday, the Polish Parliament adopted amendments to the law on assistance to Ukrainian citizens, which, in particular, provide for the extension of the legal stay of Ukrainians in the country, according to the website of the Polish channel RFT24.

“The adoption of these amendments was recommended by the parliamentary committee on administration and internal affairs. In accordance with the committee’s recommendation, the MPs rejected a number of Confederation amendments and the PiS amendment. The adopted amendments relate to the extension by four months of the deadline for filing applications for the right to practice the profession of doctor, dentist, nurse and midwife, as well as the recognition of certificates from citizens of a country that has terminated the international agreement on their mutual recognition,” the statement said.

The amendment to the Law on Assistance to Citizens of Ukraine provides, among other things, for the extension of the legal stay for Ukrainians who have been assigned a Ukr Pesel number until September 30, 2025, the preservation of payments for the next year and compulsory school education for Ukrainian children. The law also introduces new rules for confirming the identity of a Ukrainian citizen applying for a Pesel number. The only way to prove your identity is to present a valid travel document.

The amendment also specifies a maximum 36-month period during which students can attend additional free Polish language lessons. The decision will apply to students who started attending classes in 2022/23 and 2023/24. The resolution also expands access to medical, family and social benefits, allowances and the possibility of living in collective accommodation.

“The resolution also stipulates that starting from July 1, funding for accommodation and meals for refugees from Ukraine in a particularly difficult situation will be possible only on the basis of a signed agreement with a local voivode or a local government body acting on the basis of a voivode’s order. The rules for participation in the costs of accommodation and meals in collective centers will also change, making the payment of the subsidies due more efficient than now,” the statement said.

The law also provides for the abolition of benefits related to the compensation of refugees’ accommodation and food costs incurred by owners of private premises. As of July 1, the payment of one-time cash benefits in the amount of 300 zlotys will also be discontinued.

During the committee meeting, Deputy Minister of Education Ioanna Mukha noted that the amendment is related to the recent suspension in Belarus of issuing documents confirming the passing of the final exam to its citizens abroad. She said that refugees from Belarus cannot study in Poland without a high school diploma. She added that about five thousand Belarusian citizens are in this situation, but this may also apply to citizens of other countries.

The law, with the exception of some provisions, will come into force on July 1. It will now be discussed by the Senate (the upper house of the Polish parliament).



US Senate has supported law on allocating money to Ukraine

The upper house of the U.S. Congress (Senate) has passed a bill to provide aid to Ukraine. There were 79 votes in favor.

The law is to be signed by US President Joe Biden in the near future.

As reported, the bill approved on April 22 by the lower house of the US Congress (House of Representatives) provides for the allocation of almost $61 billion for purposes related to the support of Ukraine.

In addition to assistance to Ukraine, the package also includes $26 billion in aid to Israel, $8 billion to support US allies in the Indo-Pacific, as well as provisions for new sanctions against Russia, China, and Iran and the US President’s authority to use frozen Russian assets for the benefit of Ukraine.

April 23 President Zelenskyy has a phone conversation with US President Joseph Biden, during which Biden assures him that if the bill is approved by the Senate, he will immediately sign it into law.

The White House website confirms Biden’s words that his administration will quickly provide significant new security assistance packages for Ukraine in combat and air defense as soon as the Senate passes the supplemental national security package and he signs it into law.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made it clear that Ukraine would receive long-range ATACMS missiles as part of the US aid package. “And today’s result is that all the dots have been dotted in the ATACMS agreement for Ukraine. Thank you, Mr. President! Thank you, Congress! Thank you, America!” he said in a video message on Monday.

The provision of missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers has been a request of Kyiv for the past year, but the US administration has constantly postponed the issue. The missiles are provided for in a congressional resolution passed on Saturday, but it contains a reference to the administration’s ability to refuse to deliver them if it is in the national security interest.

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Amount of compensation to employers will increase from April 1 – Kyiv Employment Service

Starting April 1, 2024, according to the Law “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2024”, the minimum wage in Ukraine will increase to UAH 8 thousand. This will change the amount of certain employment-related payments, the amount of which is aligned with the minimum wage.
In particular, the maximum amount of compensation to employers will increase.
Thus, the amount of compensation for the employment of citizens who have been registered as unemployed for more than 1 month (people with disabilities, combatants and those who have no more than 5 years left before the right to an old-age pension) will now amount to UAH 8 thousand (1 minimum wage).
Compensation for the employment of young people among the registered unemployed (under 25 years of age – with less than 12 months of insurance experience; under 35 years of age – for the first job; discharged from military / alternative service – for the first job) will increase to UAH 4 thousand (50 percent of the minimum wage).
The compensation for employment of citizens who have been registered as unemployed for more than 1 month and have additional employment guarantees or have been registered for more than 6 months will increase to UAH 3,520 (double the minimum insurance premium, which is 22 percent of the minimum wage).
Compensation for the employment of internally displaced persons during martial law will amount to UAH 8 thousand (1 minimum wage) starting from April 1, 2024. At the same time, the compensation of employer’s expenses for labor remuneration of IDPs hired by the employment centers will increase to UAH 16 thousand (2 minimum wages).
The amount of partial unemployment benefits per employee or individual entrepreneur will also increase to UAH 4 thousand (50% of the minimum wage).
The maximum amount of remuneration for participation in public works will also increase and from April 1 will amount to UAH 12 thousand per month (1.5 times the minimum wage).
For reference: Since the beginning of 2024, 295 employers in the capital have used the compensation programs of the Kyiv SLC and received payments in the amount of over UAH 7 million.

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Ukrainian Parliament adopts law criminalizing smuggling

The Verkhovna Rada has amended the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes of Ukraine to criminalize smuggling of goods and excisable goods, which is one of the conditions for the last tranche of the EU’s EUR 1.5 billion macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.
According to MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak (Holos faction), the committee’s version of the draft law was adopted, which was amended in accordance with the letters from the Ministry of Finance that the business insisted on.

“1) It is proposed to raise the thresholds for smuggling 5 times. 2) The thresholds for excisable goods are to be raised by 2 times. 3) The entry into force (criminalization) of commodity smuggling is postponed until mid-2024. As I said, this is the deadline under the (memorandum with the) IMF on the BES reboot,” the MP listed the changes.

He added that the numerous wishes of the business community have also been taken into account, and that actions can only be classified as a crime if there is intent.

“Possible cases of prosecution under ‘smuggling’ articles for submitting documents with false information have been significantly limited – in the amended version, they must be the basis for the movement of goods, be subject to mandatory declaration under customs law, and have an impact on determining the amount of customs payments or compliance with non-tariff regulation measures,” Zheleznyak said.

During the voting, no amendments were made to the text submitted by the committee to the Rada for the second reading, but the text itself is not yet available on the parliament’s website.

According to the representative of the relevant committee, Oleksandr Bakumov (Servant of the People), the threshold for criminal liability for smuggling is set at UAH 6.71 million, which is 50 times higher than in the draft law adopted as a basis (UAH 113.5 thousand – IF-U). He added that the threshold for smuggling excisable goods (except for electricity) has been increased by “thirty-three and three and a half times” compared to the original draft (UAH 56.75 thousand).

Members of the European Solidarity and Batkivshchyna parties, who criticized the draft law, called the main problems of the law the presence of law enforcement agencies in the customs control zone with the addition of the Bureau of Economic Security (BES) and the unresolved problems that led to the adoption of the law on smuggling decriminalization in 2011.

“Ukraine is the only country in Europe and in the World Customs Organization whose customs authorities are not vested with pre-trial investigation functions… We could have left only what is transported outside the customs posts to be considered smuggling,” says MP Nina Yuzhanina (European Union). According to the current legislation, only the illegal transportation of cultural property, poisonous, potent, explosive substances, radioactive materials, weapons or ammunition, parts of firearms, as well as special technical means of covertly obtaining information is considered smuggling.

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