Business news from Ukraine

Ukraine and Slovakia to hold business forum in fall

Ukraine and Slovakia intend to hold a joint Ukrainian-Slovak business forum in the fall of 2024, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

“We have invited representatives of Slovak business and government to the Recovery Conference to be held in Berlin in June this year. Based on its results, we plan to organize a joint Ukrainian-Slovak business forum in the fall,” Shmyhal said at a joint briefing with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico on Thursday.

According to him, the forum will clearly discuss the prospects for investing in the economies of the countries.

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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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Business can cope with problem of staff shortage in Ukraine by investing in technological products – President of TERWIN Corporation

Business can cope with the problem of staff shortage in Ukraine by investing in technological products and process automation, says Ruslan Shostak, owner of Eva and Varus chains and president of TERWIN Corporation.

“I don’t see a big problem (with staff shortage). Yes, it exists, you can’t turn a blind eye to it, but according to statistics, not so many people left Ukraine. Our whole business was inefficient in terms of human resource utilization, which made us uncompetitive with similar businesses in Europe and the world. But there is one solution for this: money. We don’t have money to reconstruct our production facilities and enterprises. If we have money, software products, new robotic equipment, we will be able to solve this issue,” Shostak told Business Wisdom Summit in Kyiv on Wednesday.

According to Shostak, despite a slight outflow of customers, his business is showing growth: last year’s growth was almost 100% in online and 30% in retail. In addition, new logistics hubs are being built in Kyiv, Lviv, and Dnipro.

Shostak noted, while in Ukraine business development is slowed down due to the war and difficult economic situation, global business is undergoing changes and using new opportunities, including artificial intelligence.

“Now we are focusing on geopolitics, but in the next 20 years we will face global economic problems, change of specialties, professions. It is artificial intelligence that is driving the most powerful changes right now,” Shostak believes.

As reported, in October 2023, 17 companies managed by Shostak, which collectively employ 30 thousand people, merged into TERWIN (TERWIN). We are talking about Omega LLC, Rush, Tervin Group, Tixid, Tavria Hub, Instant, Formsite, Digamma, Milton Group, Saltora Plus, Firma Ariant, New Construction 2017, Altair D, Apex N, Aspect D, Lattero, Charitable Foundation Ruslan Shostak BU. The total assets of the corporation are estimated at $1.6 billion. The combined revenue of the companies reached $2 billion in the pre-war period and was expected to reach $1.7 billion in 2023.

In November 2023, Shostak and UkraineInvest CEO Serhiy Tsivkach signed a memorandum on further support of the project for the construction of logistics hubs in four regions of Ukraine (Odessa, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv) with a total investment of more than $500 million.

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Two new insurance brokers were added in Ukraine in March

The number of insurance companies in Ukraine in March 2024 has not changed and as of the end of the month there are 86 risk insurers, 12 specializing in life insurance, one insurer with a special status (“Export Credit Agency”), according to the NBU website. At the same time, two insurance brokers are included in the register.

In general, the number of non-banking financial market participants in March decreased from 1,060 (as of February 29, 2024) to 1,056 (as of March 31, 2024).


Portugal and Ukraine preparing security agreement

Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Ihor Zhovkva had a conversation with Diplomatic Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal, Georges Monteiro, via video link, the press service of the President of Ukraine reported on Tuesday.
Ihor Zhovkva thanked Jorge Monteiro for Portugal’s continued support of our country’s fight against Russian aggression.
“We appreciate Portugal’s practical participation in the tank, aviation and maritime coalitions. It is important that the volume and pace of military support continue to increase,” Ihor Zhovkva emphasized.
In the course of the conversation, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Office informed Georges Monteiro on the situation at the frontline and urgent military needs of Ukraine.
The interlocutors agreed to start negotiations on the conclusion of a bilateral security agreement in pursuance of the joint declaration of the Group of Seven on the support of Ukraine in the nearest future.
Particular attention was paid to Portugal’s support for the Ukrainian peace formula, as well as Ukraine’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. George Monteiro noted Ukraine’s progress in implementing reforms necessary for its future membership in the EU and NATO.
As reported earlier, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister of Portugal Luis Montenegro instructed to start working on the preparation of a security agreement.

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Ukraine, Hungary to open new checkpoint for passenger vehicles

Ukraine and Hungary have agreed to open the Velyka Palad-Nagyhodos checkpoint for passenger vehicles, the press service of the Ministry of Community Development, Territorial and Infrastructure Development (MinRestore) reported on Monday.

In addition, the countries agreed to allow the movement of empty trucks weighing more than 7.5 tons at the Luzhanka-Beregsurany checkpoint.

The relevant amendments to the Agreement between the governments of the countries on border traffic control were signed by the Deputy Prime Minister for the Reconstruction of Ukraine – Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov and the Ambassador of Hungary to Ukraine Heizer Antala.

It is specified that the agreements reached with Hungary require ratification to come into force.

“The signed amendments to the Agreement with Hungary allow us to start planning design and infrastructure works to launch the new Velyka Palad-Nagyhodos checkpoint and ensure the movement of empty trucks at Luzhanka,” Kubrakov said.

According to him, the possibility of building a new cargo checkpoint “Dyida-Berehdaroc” is also being considered to increase the capacity of the Ukrainian-Hungarian border.

Kubrakov also noted that Ukraine is working to start negotiations on the introduction of joint customs and border control with Hungary.

“This will allow us to speed up control procedures and reduce the time for crossing the border,” emphasized Kubrakov.

There are 5 automobile checkpoints on the border with Hungary. Only the Chop-Záhony checkpoint can handle trucks weighing more than 7.5 tons. Both loaded and empty vehicles go there. Every day, about 220 trucks cross the Chop-Zahony border crossing to leave Ukraine.

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