Business news from Ukraine


Kazakh businessman Margulan Seisembayev, who was earlier introduced by the chief executive of Ukraine’s National Reform Council, Mikheil Saakashvili, as his partner in the operations of the Office of Simple Decisions and Results, has met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and said that he would help Ukraine in implementing reforms.
“I met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today. Talked with him and his team for about an hour. I presented my offer on increasing the efficiency of the process of introducing reforms and legislation to him. He really liked everything. He said it is so important and necessary so they needed it yesterday. He asked me to accelerate. I promised to start working immediately. Therefore, I won’t be able to come to Kazakhstan soon. I feel I could get stuck here for a long time. The work is extensive, interesting and diligent,” he wrote on Facebook on Monday evening, having added a photograph from the meeting with Zelensky with Saakashvili’s participation to the post.
Seisembayev urged not to politicize his work. “I’m going to help Ukraine here. It has nothing to do with export of color revolutions or opposition activities experience. I’m doing what I love here, ensuring the efficiency of processes. It is a professional challenge for me. I introduced it many times in business and now I want to try introducing this into the work of the state system,” he said.
Seisembayev is a Kazakh entrepreneur, chairman of the Seimar company board in 1991-2009, Alliance Bank shareholder until December 31, 2009, resident of the Kazakh Chess Federation in 2007-2009.
On August 31, Saakashvili, who had previously announced the intention to create an international bureau for reforms in all former Soviet countries, introduced Seisembayev as his official partner in its initiative.
Saakashvili described Seisembayev as an ordinary guy from rural Kazakhstan who managed to create a “vast business empire” and became a multimillionaire and who has been “actively engaged in public work, in particular, reforms of the countries of the post-Soviet area” in the past few years. According to Saakashvili, Seisembayev’s area of responsibility would include increasing the efficiency of the process of introducing reforms and bills, as well as all international activities of the Office of Simple Decisions and Results.

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has praised the adoption in Ukraine of laws on the sale of land and deregulation of the banking sector and assured that Ukraine can count on solidarity from Germany and the EU during the negative impact of the pandemic on the economies of the countries.
“I congratulate you that you have managed to agree with the IMF, that there is a law on the sale of land, that Ukraine is deregulating the banking sector, that is, it continues to follow the path of reform. This is a strong signal, not only political for all international partners, and it’s a sign for the European economy that Ukraine continues to put into effect important reforms, continues to reform the judiciary and implements the recommendations of the Venice Commission,” said Maas at a press conference after talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Berlin on Tuesday.
The German Foreign Minister noted that there are great economic challenges in connection with the pandemic, but Ukraine can count on solidarity from Germany and the EU. “For me, this has become clear from conversations with European colleagues. I want to emphasize this that the macroeconomic assistance from the EU and also the assistance from our side that we provided to Ukraine emphasize it. In this way we can reduce the negative effect from a pandemic in the economic and medical sector,” added the minister.
In turn, Kuleba thanked Maas for his positive assessment of Ukrainian reforms.
“I want to confirm that Ukraine is determined to continue to change, to introduce the best European standards, to carry out those transformations that will allow us to build a strong economically successful democratic Ukraine, which is part of a European family,” the Ukrainian FM emphasized.


Myronivsky Hliboproduct agricultural holding (MHP), whose majority shareholder and chairman of the board is Yuriy Kosiuk, has confirmed information about financing the Foundation for Support of Reforms in Ukraine by five of its enterprises, but the foundation independently decided on spending these funds, in particular on payment for the services of the U.S. lobbying company BGR in 2017-2018 for the National Reforms Council, led by the then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
“MHP companies really provided financial assistance to the Foundation for Support of Reforms in Ukraine. Financial assistance was provided to achieve the goal of the organization, namely to promote the development of Ukraine and the growth of well-being of its citizens by providing support in the development and implementation of reforms in Ukraine,” the press service of the holding told Interfax-Ukraine.
The agricultural holding said that MHP and its chairman did not used the funds provided to the Foundation for Support of Reforms to directly finance lobbying in the United States or other specific areas.
“The public organization independently determines the use of funds received from all founders and partners, taking into account the detailed directions of activity,” MHP noted.
According to the Kyiv Post edition, the administration of President Poroshenko through the Foundation for Support of Reforms in Ukraine paid for the services of American lobbyists at the expense of contributions made by Kosiuk, who at that time was a freelance adviser to the head of state, and it took $600,000 in 2017-2018. The matter concerns five agricultural firms: PrJSC Zernoproduct MHP, Vinnytsia Poultry Farm LLC, PrJSC Myronivska Poultry Farm, Research and Production Firm Urozhay LLC, and Urozhaina Kraina LLC. In addition to the money from Kosiuk, this public organization received grants of millions of dollars in support of reforms from embassies and Western donors, including American ones, Kyiv Post said.

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The chief operating officer of U.S.-based Trident Acquisitions Corp., the ex-head of Smart-Holding, Oleksiy Tymofeyev, launches a challenge to attract investment in Ukraine if the Servant of the People party fulfills the promised reforms. “If Zelensky’s team fulfills its checklist of reforms, I pledge to personally bring to Ukraine at least $100 million in direct investment per year. Each has its own Ironman [the triathlon competition]. I have one,” he said on Facebook.
The candidate for people’s deputy from the Servant of the People party, David Arakhamiya [also knows as David Braun], who was appointed member of the Ukroboronprom supervisory board by the president of Ukraine in July, noted in his commentary to Tymofeyev “I’ll hold you to that!”
Chairman of the board of ATF Bank (Kazakhstan), the ex-director for business development at Nova Poshta, Serhiy Kovalenko, also said in comments that he is ready to support the initiative with an investment amount of $50 million.
The manager of the asset development and valuation department of DTEK Oil&Gas, Yuriy Moroz, in turn, wrote that he would run the Ironman competition if Tymofeyev attracts the promised investments.

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It is unlikely that the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held this year would affect the speed of the implementation of reforms in Ukraine, according to most participants of the CFA Society Ukraine Investment Forum held in Kyiv on Friday, March 15.
According to its express poll, 58.33% of the audience backed the above opinion and 62.944% confirmed it during the repeated voting after the information panel.
However, 15.74% and 21.68% of the participants during the repeated voting said that the reforms would accelerate. Some 17.59% (11.91%) and 8.33% (4.2%) respectively expected that the reform would slow down and would be backtracked.
According to Economist of Morgan Stanley investment bank Alina Sliusarchuk, judicial reform is currently the key reform for Ukraine.
“The first question that investors usually ask me is not about the labor market or even about the war in the east of the country. It concerns the fight against corruption, judicial reform, the presence of structural changes. That is, this is the most important issue,” she said at the forum.
Chief Economist at the Dragon Capital investment group Olena Belan said that the intentions and aspirations of the new authorities would very quickly manifest themselves in the macroeconomic situation.
“Regardless of who will be elected, if the new government continues cooperating with the International Monetary Fund, adhering to the correct policy, rather than making populist decisions, there is a potential for reducing the key policy rate by 2 or 3 percentage points,” she said.
Executive Director of Blazer International Foundation Oleh Ustenko has the same opinion. He said that the success of the new government will directly depend on whether they are based on expert opinion.
“I am sure that in Ukraine the situation will really improve if each of the existing candidates who intends to lead the country will follow the instructions prepared by the experts. Of course, the person who is elected to this position is important, but society and international partners are unlikely to allow future head of state to significantly deviate from the course of reform,” he said.
About 300 financial and investment experts took part in the ninth CFA Society Ukraine Investment Forum.

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President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has excluded Dmytro Shymkiv, ex-governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriya Gontareva, Borys Lozhkin, ex-Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk, Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova, MP Serhiy Rybalka and ex-head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov from the National Reforms Council. By the same decree, Poroshenko included Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Serhiy Marchenko, Acting Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova, and Head of the National Bank Yakiv Smolii in the National Reforms Council.
The National Reforms Council is a special advisory body under the president on strategic planning, coordinating positions on the reform strategy in Ukraine and monitoring their implementation.

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