Business news from Ukraine

Leading business associations ask Zelensky to implement important reforms

Participants of the Congress “Reform of the Public Finance System – the Way to Restore Ukraine” and business representatives have called on President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy to implement the tasks identified by leading think tanks and business associations as key priorities for this year.

According to a statement released on Friday by the Ukrainian Business Council (UBC), the key institutional reforms include the reboot of the BES and the State Customs Service with the election of the head in an open competition with the decisive vote of international partners, re-certification of employees during the year and approval of KPIs, as well as the establishment of market salaries for employees of the State Customs Service.

Another priority is the reboot of the State Tax Service on the same terms as the State Customs Service, including the creation of high-quality Public Control Councils and the introduction of an inclusive approach to the development of state policies and strategies.

“The work on the draft laws and their submission to the Verkhovna Rada should be preceded by an expert and public discussion of the relevant strategy and state policy. To improve the quality of the legislative process, it is necessary to provide for the mandatory submission of a regulatory impact analysis by all subjects of legislative initiative and the need for a certain minimum number of MPs-authors to register a draft law. Restrict the submission of alternative draft laws on the same issue to prevent legislative spam,” the statement reads.

Regarding the recovery, economic development and preservation of economic potential, the business asks to implement an optimal model of employee booking based on economic indicators, which allows for digital booking of a person liable for military service per day (e-booking), which will increase tax revenues to the budget, de-shadowing of wages and increasing the sustainability of all forms of business, including individual entrepreneurs.

In addition, the business asks to ensure an effective and transparent mechanism for business travel outside Ukraine for business trips for company executives, employees and individual entrepreneurs, as well as to implement systems to support and stimulate entrepreneurship in the areas of possible hostilities in the de-occupied communities.

Addressing the President and MPs, the business calls for preventing pressure from law enforcement agencies, as it leads to significant economic losses and disruption of state budget revenues. To this end, entrepreneurs recommend establishing the principle of presumption of innocence of the taxpayer (so that the body proves its guilt, not the taxpayer), concentrating the functions of pre-trial investigation of economic crimes exclusively in the BES, establishing personal responsibility of investigators (prosecutors and judges) for violations of the CPC and standards of prosecutors’ activities in the field of investment protection during pre-trial investigation, which have already been adopted and should become mandatory.

To reduce the pressure, the business also recommended automating the closure of criminal cases that have been “hanging” for years, providing the necessary safeguards for a quick and impartial pre-trial investigation, setting clear deadlines for pre-trial investigation in all criminal proceedings and judicial control over their observance, setting a deadline for returning seized property or lifting the arrest (10 days), and making the investigator liable for failure to comply with the court decision.

The business also proposes to introduce monthly reporting on criminal cases that have been under investigation for more than 6 months and the property seized (confiscated) in them by law enforcement agencies and to ensure the protection of the rights of participants in criminal proceedings (Draft Law No. 9211 as a basis, with amendments for the second reading).

As part of the reform of the tax system and customs legislation, the business community will ask to reduce the total tax burden on the payroll and replace the income tax with the tax on withdrawn capital after the end of martial law with the preparation of relevant legislative changes in advance, as well as to change the ideology of the SMKOR from “punitive” to analytical, to introduce a deadline for blocking tax invoices with an increase in the mandatory threshold for VAT registration.

The statement of the business associations emphasizes that it is necessary to ensure the preservation of the current simplified taxation system while minimizing its abuse, in particular: to define the criteria for distinguishing between employment and freelance by law. To do this, replace the broad fiscalization of sole proprietors of the 2nd and 3rd groups of the EH with the fiscalization of exclusively risky categories of taxpayers who are likely to reach the EH limits.

The business expects the guaranteed obligations regarding the conditions of doing business in the tax regime to remain unchanged for 25 years and to ensure full automatic exchange of information with other countries, as well as to create an effective mechanism for automated comparison of documents on the customs value of goods.

With regard to reducing inefficient state budget expenditures, entrepreneurs are asking to review expenditures to optimize them, increase efficiency of their use, and adapt the amount of public spending to new demographic realities (this includes reducing expenditures on representative bodies of state power, the justice system, education, healthcare, and housing subsidies).

The business also expects the authorities to establish objective KPIs for all budget programs, publicly disclose budget estimates of budgetary institutions, and monitor the effectiveness of spending on government programs.

It is specified that the appeal was signed by 18 business associations, including: Association of Taxpayers of Ukraine, Association of Private Employers, IT-Ukraine Association, All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council, All-Ukrainian Professional Association of Entrepreneurs, SUP, Board, CLUB100, CEO Club, CFO Club, Kharkiv IT Cluster, Oil and Gas Association of Ukraine, CCI, Ukrainian Cluster Alliance, Ukrainian Security Industry Federation, UCAB, Ukrainian Association of Direct Sales, Ukrharchoprom.

The document was also signed by three coalitions of business associations – the USS, the Coalition of Business Communities for the Modernization of Ukraine, and the National Business Coalition.


Zelensky announced availability of substantial amount of funds for current year for all regions of the country under “Made in Ukraine” program

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during his working visit to Sumy region took part in the first regional meeting on the new program of economic policy “Made in Ukraine”.

“For the first time held a regional meeting regarding our new program of economic policy “Made in Ukraine”. There is a substantial amount of funds for this year for all regions of our state. Guaranteed for Sumy region as well,” he said in the evening video message.
Thus, according to him, as a result of this meeting, there are already specific tasks for members of the government, the State Property Fund, the Office of the President and regional authorities, and there are signed contracts for the Ukrainian defense-industrial complex.

Zelensky, in particular, said there are new contracts for automated fire-fighting systems, new FPV drones, and simulators for mobile firing teams to help shoot down Shaheds more effectively.

“I am proud that every month more and more companies, more and more developers are offering concrete samples of weapons, shells, equipment, mine clearance vehicles and everything that is needed on the frontline and will save the lives of our people,” he said.

In addition, during his visit to Sumy region, the president held a lengthy coordination meeting on internal security in the region – from shelters to countering crime, and on all defense issues.

“Very substantive. As for the economy and the social situation: now the general task – and the government, and the regional authorities and heads of communities to give every opportunity that here in our Sumy region there were jobs, that social protection worked, that there were reliable revenues to the budget,” – said Zelensky.


Zelensky to visit Albania

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Tirana will hold a meeting with the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, will participate in the summit “Ukraine – Southeast Europe”.

“With the Prime Minister of Albania and his team we will hold talks on defense and political cooperation, support for the Formula World and work on security agreements. Albania is one of the countries that joined the G7 Vilnius Declaration, for which we are very grateful,” Zelensky wrote in his Telegram channel on Wednesday, calling Edi Rama an uncompromising friend of Ukraine.

“In the format “Ukraine – Southeast Europe”, which is meeting for the second time, we will talk about our common path to the Euro-Atlantic goal. I will offer to support Ukraine’s efforts to ensure a just and lasting peace, the organization of the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland,” he informed.

In addition, the President of Ukraine will hold bilateral meetings with the participants of the summit.

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Zelensky met with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud

During a working visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the Crown Prince, Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud.

“The Ukrainian head of state emphasized the desire of Saudi Arabia to help restore a just peace in Ukraine,” the presidential press service reported.

Zelensky and Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud exchanged views on the current situation in the world and possible ways to end the war in Ukraine.

The parties discussed the realization of the Formula for Peace. The President of Ukraine thanked the Crown Prince for his valuable advice on speeding up the process of implementation of a number of its points.

“Saudi Arabia’s leadership can help to find fair solutions,” the President said.

The Head of State informed the Crown Prince about the preparation by Ukraine together with its partners of the first Global Summit of Peace at the level of leaders, which will be held in Switzerland. Volodymyr Zelensky and Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud discussed the content of the summit and possible steps to really restore security for Ukraine, all of Europe and all peoples of the world.

“We are equally interested in ensuring global stability,” the President emphasized.

The leaders also discussed specific opportunities for bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia in the economic and technological sphere.

Volodymyr Zelensky and Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud instructed the teams of the two states to work on the relevant areas discussed during the meeting.

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Turkish Foreign Minister meets with Zelensky in Kyiv

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, who arrived in Kyiv, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Our Minister Hakan Fidan was received in Kyiv by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.

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Zelensky calls Transcarpathia future driver of economic growth

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is confident that “Transcarpathia will be one of the drivers of economic and social growth”.

He wrote this in his Telegram channel following a coordination meeting on the security and social situation in Transcarpathia held in Uzhgorod on Wednesday.

“Strategic for the region border issues. Relocation of business and the creation of new jobs in different communities of the region is an important area of work. Facilities for the rehabilitation of our warriors are the right projects. A lot of initiatives to develop the economy of Transcarpathia – those opportunities that have not been used for decades,” – emphasized the head of state.

“Transcarpathia will be one of the drivers of economic and social growth. Thank you to everyone in Transcarpathia, who works for the good of Ukraine and helps to bring our victory closer,” – wrote Zelensky.

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