21 December 2014

Year end 2014 and NEW YEAR 2015 in Ukraine

The year 2014 has been an eventful year for Ukraine. The Russian invasion of Crimea is still the major problem which unfortunately many western nations appear to have forgotten. The Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine continues.

Too many media sources continue to report about the 'Ukraine Crisis'. When the facts that should be reported are the 'RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE'.
The Russian President had failed to achieve many of his objectives in Ukraine. But one objective that has been achieved is the destruction of the economy of Ukraine.

Ukraine is suffering. The country needs help from the west. We all hope that 2015 will bring better fortunes for Ukraine.

However, one of the biggest problems that still plagues Ukraine is the disease known as 'corruption'.
Even with a new President and new Government in place, the old habits of corruption remain.

BUT...the only people that can STOP this deep seated corruption in Ukraine is in fact the PEOPLE of Ukraine. If only they would just STOP paying bribes to state officials and other people holding out their hands for bribes, the problem could be tackled.

My message for the people in Ukraine at this year end is ''PLEASE STOP PAYING BRIBES'
A brighter future awaits the country in 2015, if you the people will stop paying bribes to state officials and others. JUST STOP DOING IT.

06 December 2014

Ukraine needs to get serious about Foreign Investors

In these hard times for the country, one would have thought that Ukraine would be welcoming foreign investors with open arms. Oh no.

The BBCU has a long track record of helping foreign companies in Ukraine. Admittedly these are not all multi-million dollar enterprises but they are all investors, where non-residents are bringing their own money to Ukraine to establish new businesses or to complete a trade agreement with a Ukraine based company. Naturally both include some foreign nationals working in Ukraine. Therefore they need a work permit and residents permits to stay here.

All of these foreign 'directors/managers' create local jobs and start to employ Ukrainian nationals.
This is want the country needs.

But try telling this to the decision makers at the Kyiv Employment Centre who are responsible for processing the vast amounts of paperwork we submit for each work permit for foreigners to work and develop their businesses here in Ukraine. If there is an excuse to delay or reject an application they are sure to find it. THINGS HAVE NOT CHANGED IN UKRAINE. In fact they might have got worse.

One of our client companies has already invested millions of dollars in to Ukraine over the past few years but still needs to bring nationals from its own country to provide training to local employees and help develop the business. But the process for obtaining work permits for this client is proving a major challenge with the 'forces of bureaucracy' in the Kyiv Employment Centre.

These foreign nationals are NOT displacing jobs from locals. Moreover, they are actually helping to create more jobs. The ONLY help these foreign companies need from the government of Ukraine is a few pieces of paper (ie work permits) to help investment to continue. Is that too much to ask?

Before anyone asks....we never pay bribes. :) Maybe here is the reason?

21 November 2014

Ukraine - One year on (21st November)

Today it is one year since the start of the events that led to the 'Revolution' in Ukraine.

Who would have thought that it would lead to the country being at war with Russia?

The economy is weaker than ever. It will be very difficult to attract genuine foreign investors to Ukraine.

Is the country set on a course of surviving from hands outs from the EU, IMF and others?

Andrey Kurkov on the BBC web site says:

It is unclear how the current chapter of Ukrainian history will end. I remain optimistic in spite of the pain I feel remembering those who died in the battle for a new Ukraine and those who are still dying and risking their lives on the Donbas frontline.
I do believe Ukraine will withstand it all and will maintain her independence and that the Ukrainian people will hold on to their desire to live in a civilised state cleared of a corrupt elite and corrupt judiciary.
But without the European Union's help, Ukraine will not be able to achieve this. Not because the Ukrainians lack determination, but because beside Ukraine stands a Russia which needs Ukraine to remain as it was under Yanukovych and other presidents - weak, passive and corrupt.
See the article here

10 November 2014

Ukraine Currency Collapse

Although many people are commenting on the collapse of the Russian ruble, they should be very concerned about the Ukraine Hrvynia.

The currency has devalued by over 47 percent since the start of the year. Exchange rates today stood at:

UAH/USD - 15.50
UAH/EUR - 19.00
UAH/GBP - 24.00

But I'm sure it might have changed while I was writing this.

The NBU (National Bank of Ukraine) claimed today that the Hryvnia will not go any weaker than 16.00 to the USD. I would not gamble on it.

For those of us in business who need to purchase foreign currency for transactions it is beyond any joke.

05 November 2014

Corruption in Ukraine Continues

The owner of the Kyiv Post in Ukraine, Mohammad Zahoor recently wrote an article that appeared in the FT on the continuing problem of corruption in Ukraine.

I agree with his comments. Corruption is very deeply seated in both the public and private sectors in Ukraine. Far too many government officials (state employees) carry too much power and use it to extract financial gain from both individuals and businesses.

BUT.........I blame the people, the general public and business owners for continuing to support the corrupt system in Ukraine. Although many will claim they have no choice but to pay bribes or their businesses will suffer if they do not give in to demands from corrupt officials, it is THEY who maintain the system.

If the people of Ukraine really want to bring about CHANGE in the country and stop all this crazy corruption THEY THE PEOPLE can do it, just like they came out onto the streets in 2013 to start demanding change. They can do it again.

Moreover, the only thing people need to do to stop corruption is to STOP PAYING any bribes to government officials or anyone in the private sector. STOP giving money to police officers when they stop you for a so called speeding offence. STOP paying bribes to junior government employees to 'help you make things easier'. STOP paying anything to those higher up. No matter how much they may claim they will make your life difficult if you do not pay. YOU can make their life difficult by reporting them.

The days of being afraid are over. My advice to the people of Ukraine is to stand up and be counted once again and put a stop to all this continuing problem of corruption that is holding the country back from moving forward.

25 October 2014

Ukraine Elections - 26th October 2014

On Sunday 26th October 2014, Ukrainians will have another opportunity to vote and choose which political parties will be responsible for the management of the country. Although Ukraine still maintains an unusual system of elections via a ‘party list’ system mixed with other systems, it is an opportunity for the people to choose the future direction of Ukraine.

The majority of the population have already decided that they wish to see a free and democratic country develop along a ‘Western European’ system.

Ukraine will need another 5-10 years to rebuild its economy and develop a system of governance and for its politicians to demonstrate that they can put people first and eventually cast off the old methods of soviet era bureaucracy, systemic corruption and the stigma of selfish greed among the so called elite.

The time has arrived for fresh, young albeit inexperienced people to start making decisions that will benefit the population as a whole.  Let’s all hope that we will see many new faces appearing in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) next week.

16 October 2014

The People of Ukraine

I think this simple short video explains how Ukrainians feel about their country.

Where is Ukraine?