The Business Ombudsman Council’s Investigations Yield UAH 2.7bn of Direct Financial Impact In 2015

The Office reports the results of the first year of its operations
The Business Ombudsman Council of Ukraine (BOC) issued its 2015 annual report, outlining the results of their efforts to protect the Ukrainian entrepreneurs’ lawful interests in relations with the government agencies and to improve the country’s business climate. In the reporting year, the BOC launched 342 investigations and successfully closed 151 cases, yielding the cumulative direct financial impact of UAH 2.7bn for businesses. 
Since the beginning of operations on May 20, 2015, the BOC moved forward with 58% out of the 585 complaints received from businesses from all regions of Ukraine. The largest number of complaints was received from entrepreneurs in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv, Odessa, Zaporizhzhia regions, and the city of Kyiv. The lowest – from Chernivtsi, Khmelnytsky, and Rivne regions.
Of all complaints lodged in 2015, the tax issues (dilatory VAT refund, inspections by state fiscal agencies, problems with the electronic VAT administration, customs matters) topped the list of problematic areas, along with problems involving the relationships with law enforcement bodies.
As a result of investigations, the BOC provided 123 recommendations to the respective government agencies, of which 63% were implemented by December 31, 2015.
The BOC team also prepared recommendations with legislative amendment advice on the following topics: “Getting Access to Electricity”; “Selected Problems with Business Activity due to the Anti-Terrorist Operation and the Annexation of Crimea”; “Problems with Administering Business Taxes in Ukraine”, and “Systemic Report on Problems with Cross-Border Trading in Ukraine”. Two more reports – on the activities of natural monopolies and abuse of powers by law enforcement agencies – were presented in early 2016. 
To ensure transparency and reciprocity of cooperation from the government agencies most frequently involved in investigations, the BOC signed the Memoranda of Partnership and Cooperation with them. The Memoranda signed with the State Regulatory Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, and the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine were aimed at addressing specific complaints from businesses, improving the business climate, preventing corruption, and eliminating provisions in legislation that restrict business activity.
“Less than in a year we achieved significant results for hundreds of Ukrainian businesses. The government agencies defer to us and are ready to cooperate. We still have a long road ahead of us: cases to solve, investigations to conduct, legislation to discuss and draft, more government institutions to partner with, more businesses to protect. Our team has grown and gained experience, so I am confident that we, together, can make the big change happen – one small step after the other,” said Algirdas Šemeta, Business Ombudsman of Ukraine.
The full version of the annual report in Ukrainian and English is available on the website of the Business Ombudsman Council of Ukraine: https://boi.org.ua/publications/reports

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