In the first quarter the Business Ombudsman Council completed a record number of investigations

In the first quarter of 2018, the Business Ombudsman Council received 646 complaints from businesses. The average timeframe for conducting an investigation was 59 days, which is 31 days less than envisaged by the Rules of Procedure. By the end of the first quarter, government agencies have implemented record 93% recommendations of the Council, which is 2pp more than in the previous period. 98% of the applicants are satisfied with the Business Ombudsman Council’s work.
“During the reporting period, we completed a record number of investigations – 509. This is 19% more than in the previous quarter and 2.5 times more than in the first quarter of 2017. At the same time, two thirds of cases were closed with an immediate desired result for complainants. Our task now is to maintain a high level of efficiency and work systematically to ensure less reasons for complaints,” – stressed the Business Ombudsman Algirdas Semeta. 
Since the beginning of the year, the Business Ombudsman’s team helped entrepreneurs to return UAH 195 mn. The cumulative financial effect since launch of operations exceeds UAH 11.5 bln. As for the non-financial results of our work for the quarter – almost fifty suspended abuses by state bodies, dozens of examples of tax reporting recognition, obtaining permits and closed criminal cases against entrepreneurs. 
The four key blocks made up 89% of complaints received by the BOC in the first quarter of 2018:
• Tax issues – 67% of complaints, which is 4 percentage points (pp) lower than in the previous quarter. More than two thirds of the block’s requests related to suspension of tax invoices. A reduction in the number of appeals is recorded for almost all tax issues as compared to the 4th quarter of 2017. Exceptions were criminal proceedings on tax issues and complaints about termination of agreements on electronic reporting. 
• Actions of law enforcement agencies – 11% of complaints, i.e.2 pp more compared to the previous quarter. The block’s share grew due to an increase in the number of complaints against the Prosecutor’s Office (+50%). At the same time, in comparison with Q4 2017, the same number of applications was received concerning the National Police, as for the State Security Service –  one third less. A separate section in the releases quarterly report is devoted to the analysis of complaints against law enforcement agencies. 
• Actions of state regulators – 8% of complaints. The number of appeals against the AMCU, DABI, StateGeonadra decreased as compared to Q4 2017. 
• Actions of local councils – 3% of complaints. The number of complaints in this block decreased by one third in comparison with the previous quarter. 
Over three quarters of appeals were lodged by small and medium-sized businesses. The vast majority of complainants (89%) are Ukrainian companies. Complaints were coming predominantly from wholesale and distribution (30%), manufacturing (15%), agriculture (14%), real estate (8%) and individual entrepreneurs (6%). Almost one third of complaints came from Kiev, by a large margin followed by Dnepropetrovsk (12%), Kiev, Odessa and Kharkiv oblasts – 8% each respectively. 
The full version of the quarterly report in Ukrainian and English is available here.