Mr. Šemeta met with the leadership of regional state administrations, representatives of small and medium-sized businesses, governmental authorities and law-enforcement bodies.
Mr. Šemeta started his business trip with Lutsk (Volyn Region). “During half a year of our Office’s operations, we have received almost 500 complaints from all regions of Ukraine. We have 6 complaints from Volyn entrepreneurs now. The lion share of them is regarding actions of State Fiscal Service and law-enforcement bodies,” indicated Algirdas Šemeta during his meeting with Volodymyr Gunchyk, Head of Volyn State Administration.
Business Ombudsman and Head of Volyn State Administration discussed the details of cooperation of business with government as well as the steps the state authorities take for business in Volyn to develop and flourish. They also discussed the issues of fighting corruption, officials’ qualification to fit for state service, attracting investment to the region and developing tourism.
Volodymyr Gunchyk, Head of Volyn State Administration said: “Our position regarding cooperation with business is clear: if you cannot help, don’t interfere. As a former businessperson myself, I understand pretty well what pressure on business really means. Of course, there is a lot to be done both in Ukraine and in Volyn region in particular to overcome the shameful phenomenon of corruption. We are happy to join our efforts with the Business Ombudsman Council to reach our common goal – to eradicate corruption and create favourable investment climate in the region”.
Šemeta also met with the representatives of small and medium-sized businesses to learn more about obstacles that Volyn entrepreneurs face. He presented the structure of the Office that deals with protecting their rights and interests. The issues raised included VAT refund, conflicting decisions of local authorities that affect the rights of entrepreneurs, baseless criminal cases, which cannot be appealed in court and use of these cases to put pressure on business.
Business Ombudsman then went to Rivne region. He began his visit with the meeting with Anatolii Kovalchuk, the Prosecutor of the Rivne Region [Note: Based on the statistics of two consecutive reporting quarters the Prosecutor’s Office ranked second in the antiranking of complainees (12% of all complaints received)]. After that Mr. Šemeta had a meeting with the leadership of regional state administrations and representatives of small and medium-sized businesses. Business Ombudsman informed the community that only two entrepreneurs from Rivne have addressed BOC so far. In both cases the complaints related to VAT refund.
Vitalii Chugunnikov, Head of Rivne State Administration, said: “Rivne State Administration adheres to the rule – help entrepreneurs instead of hindering them. Small and medium-sized businesses are the donors of incomings to the state and regional budgets. That is why we are eager to areate comfortable conditions for doing business. We are determined to cooperate closely with Business Ombudsman Council to help businesses that currently experience pressure from local agencies to come forward and protect their legal rights.”
We would like to remind that the visit to Lutsk and Rivne was performed within the framework of the working visits program of the Business Ombudsman to the regions of Ukraine, where Mr. Šemeta meets entrepreneurs and officials to discuss key problems they face while doing business and the possibilities for improvement of investment potential of the regions. Mr. Šemeta has already visited Chernigiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Odesa regions.