The Business Ombudsman Council (BOC) in Ukraine published a report with First Quarter results for 2016, summing up its activities in defense of Ukrainian business interests before government agencies. Over this reporting period, the BOC received 139 complaints and successfully closed 123 cases, which is the best result for any quarter so far. The direct financial impact of these successes represented UAH 215 million for this quarter.
The largest number of complaints came from manufacturers, wholesalers, agribusiness and real estate firms. The vast majority of complaints that came to the BOC office, 80%, were from SMEs, and local ones (81%). Among the complainants whose problems the BOC successfully solved are famous companies: Nibulon, Arricano, GlaxoSmithKlein, Marie Brizard, Privat Bank, and so on. The BOC also received its first complaint from Crimea, demonstrating that the base of complainants extends throughout Ukraine.
In the first quarter, electronic VAT administration, tax inspections, other tax issues and actions of state regulators were the most urgent for Ukrainian businesses. The Office received hardly any complaints regarding registration of enterprises and material inspections, current VAT refund, although the Council continued to receive complaints regarding VAT refund for the previous periods. Relations with law enforcement agencies were also painful for entrepreneurs.
To improve transparency during investigations and the preparation of recommendations, the Council signed a Memorandum of Partnership and Cooperation with the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NACB). The BOC will work closely with the NACB in reviewing specific complaints and in taking officials to court for abusing their position. This is the fourth such official document in the Council’s first year of operations.
The Business Ombudsman’s Council has also analyzed the proportion of its recommendations applied by government agencies receiving the most complaints. Overall, they have implemented 67% of all BOC’s recommendations so far. “Despite the fact that the State Fiscal Service has consistently led the ratings for agencies getting the most complaints, this government office has actually had one of the highest rates, 72%, of actually carrying out our recommendations,” notes Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman Algirdas Semeta. “The Justice Ministry, which is second for the number of recommendations issued, has carried out 76% of our recommendations. The lowest rate, 18%, is the Prosecutor General’s Office. We continue to work to make sure that our recommendations will be respected by absolutely all government agencies and I’m pleased that most of them are prepared to meet us halfway.”
At a May 24 press conference, Mr. Semeta noted that on May 20, 2016 the Council marked one year since official launch of operations.
The results of this first year of operations (May 20, 2015-May 20, 2016) in numbers:
The new quarterly report can be found in Ukrainian and in English on the Business Ombudsman’s site at https://boi.org.ua/en/reports-categories/quarterly-reports/
- 828 complaints received from businesses in every oblast of Ukraine
- 350 cases successfully resolved
- 264 recommendations presented to government agencies
- 67% of recommendations applied
- 6 systemic reports with recommendations presented to the Government of Ukraine
- UAH 3,443,705,605 in direct financial impact of BOC activities
- 4 Memoranda of Cooperation signed with government agencies
- 14 oblasts of Ukraine visited by the Business Ombudsman on working visits
- 94% of complainants satisfied with the way the BOC has cooperated