How the BOC helped “Zeelandia”

National Police inactivity Kyiv region

The atmosphere of Amsterdam, small brick houses and canals, smiling workers and the sweet smell of chocolate – this is what the office of Zeelandia company, a subsidiary of a Dutch company specializing in production of ingredients for the bakery and confectionery industry welcomes its visitors with. Producing about 700 tons of products per year, the company exports dry mixes, confectionery glazes and jams to Romania, Poland, India, Belarus and the Caucasus.
Zeelandia has been working in Ukraine for 18 years, paying taxes and creating jobs. We help our customers, Ukrainian manufacturers of finished products, to increase competitiveness: we train, get them familiar with leading technologies, introduce new product categories. “For example, today a chocolate muffin is a product familiar to every Ukrainian. However, many years ago we were the first to bring the mixture to Ukraine for its preparation”, says Zeelandia CEO Andrii Vasylenko.
Most of the company’s products are made from Ukrainian ingredients, but the share of import is quite high. The company often has to deal with the customs. The first complaint the company filed with the Business Ombudsman Council (BOC) back in 2015 concerned customs issues. When importing goods, the company submitted a package of necessary documents for registration of goods, but customs officers did not agree with the declared cost of products. They adjusted the customs value of goods, so the company had to pay a higher duty. Disagreeing with the actions of Kyiv Customs, the company approached the BOC.
“After examining the case file, the Business Ombudsman Council upheld the company’s position and recommended that the customs authority check whether the adjustment of the customs clearance amount was legal. The customs authority quite quickly responded to the BOC’s request and cancelled the decision on customs value adjustment, ” a BOC investigator Oleksandr Khomenko commented on the case. 
For the second time, Zeelandia appealed to the BOC in 2020 with a complaint about inaction of law enforcers. The truck of the enterprise got into road accident with several vehicles. The accident was not through the fault of the truck driver, but the car was severely damaged. To reimburse them with the help of an insurance company, the company had to obtain a respective accident protocol from the National Police. However, law enforcement officers delayed its issuance. Despite numerous complaints of the Complainant, the public authority did not respond. That is why the company had to file a complaint to the BOC.
“The BOC asked to arrange a meeting with the law enforcement agency top management and stressed the need to finalize the protocol. The Complainant soon informed that the problem had been solved”, said Olena Kutsai, a BOC investigator.
Andriy summarized cooperation with the BOC as follows: “We thank the investigators involved in consideration of cases. It was very important for us to have support at that stage in relations with state bodies, state institutions and this resulted in a positive outcome, including adoption of positive investment decisions in the future in the development of our business”.
Every year, the Business Ombudsman Council receives over 1,500 complaints from entrepreneurs about violations of state bodies. Every seventh complaint comes from a business with foreign investment. To protect interests of companies operating in Ukraine, the Business Ombudsman Council ensures that civil servants follow the rules and abide the law properly. The institution works both on individual complaints of entrepreneurs and on solving systemic business problems, so that eventually the Ukrainian economy could become more attractive for both Ukrainian and foreign investors.

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