24 February 2015

Ukraine Tomorrow

Ukraine government has announced the launch of a new TV channel - 'Ukraine Tomorrow'

'Ukraine's Minister of Information Policy, Yuriy Stets, has announced the creation of a new channel called Ukraine Tomorrow and a new so-called "i-army" to combat Russian propaganda in an increasingly bitter information war between Moscow and Kyiv.'

The country needs to get the message out to the rest of the world about what is happening in Ukraine and what needs to be done to help put the country back on its feet.

See Ukraine Tomorrow

More than ever before Ukraine needs help both in the public and private sectors.

17 February 2015

Crowd Funding Appeal - Ukraine Trading Fund

See our appeal here on Indiegogo


Ukraine Trading Fund

Ukraine Trading Fund - An Appeal via Crowdfunding

Not wanting to 'throw in the towel' on Ukraine, I have decided to try and help small businesses in Ukraine as much as possible.

As I am currently publishing and editing a magazine in Cyprus, I decided to outsource the printing of the magazine back to Ukraine and discovered the great cost savings to be made by doing business again in Kyiv. I have also appointed a designer and translator to do work on the magazine from their bases in Ukraine.

So, I got to thinking that many other businesses in other countries can benefit from having a trading relationship with both entrepreneurs and small companies back in Ukraine. We all know that times are very difficult and the economy is in a bad state. But there is so much talent available in Ukraine and so many small businesses eagerly looking for new opportunities. Gone are the days of 'advanced payments' and this has really upset the apple cart as customers are afraid to provide advance payments for fear of loosing out and suppliers are reluctant to provide products/services because they fear non-payment. Plus who knows how the banks will perform. Add to that the fear of Marshall Law being declared and we begin to understand why small businesses are living in fear of survival.

Therefore, I'm about to launch the UKRAINE TRADING FUND, with an appeal for funding via crowd funding methods. The fund will act as a bridge between customer and supplier. As follows:

1. The Ukraine Trading Fund helps small businesses to find foreign customers.
2. Supplier & Customer agree prices and terms. (Via the Fund)
3. Ukraine Trading Fund provides a guarantee to the supplier.
4. Supplier produces the goods/services
5. Customer completes payment to Ukraine Trading Fund
6. Ukraine Trading Fund completes payment to Supplier.

This will be a FREE service, provided we can attract the seed funding for one year.
The FUND will act as a buffer/risk fund just in case one of the parties in the planned business deals fails to deliver. But with careful planning the fund should remain in place.

Further details available via the BBCU website.

05 February 2015

The State of Ukraine - Time to 'Draw the Curtains'

The situation gets worse each day.
Today, we see the Hryvnia (UAH) decline to 22 against the USD, and that is the official bank rate as per the NBU. The black market rate will be approaching 30 to $1. But dollars and euros are just not available to buy in Ukraine anyhow.
Inflation will soon be reaching over 30%. Bank lending rates have been increased today to 19.5 %
The country has only $6.5 billion in foreign currency reserves.
(As I was writing this the Head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriy Gontareva has just announced the rate will now be 25 to the $1)

Many people thought something would change today, when US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Ukraine. Although the US will provide much needed financial assistance, they will not provide any military support. Plus the latest news is that German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande have also refused to provide any military support.

So what is the future for Ukraine?

The IMF will no doubt provide financial support. So the future for Ukraine would appear to be a country heavily dependent on international loans and aid.
The international/multi-national companies already in the country may well continue to try and survive. Plus a whole range of NGO’s, quasi autonomous foreign funded organisations and the like will continue to provide employment to a few. Many local businesses have already gone out of business and the media in Ukraine are not reporting the true situation in the economy. (They are not reporting anywhere near enough about what is really going on). Far too many businesses and entrepreneurs do not have any money to pay taxes.

The lucky winners are those individuals and businesses who receive income in the form of foreign currency. Those with contracts for IT support and software development will be OK. Ukrainians and Foreigners who have agreed to be paid in USD or EURO will be laughing all the way to the bank. But inflation will catch up with everyone.

The majority of the people in Ukraine are suffering badly. Wages are in short supply if payable at all. Many are already in survival mode and concentrate on providing food for their families on a daily basis.

The economy has only days before it collapses if the IMF does not provide funding next week.
Therefore, I cannot see the situation improving for many years. Although I have a business in Ukraine, together with private property, the time has come for me personally to ‘bring down the curtain’.

This decision was not taken quickly or easily.

Ukrainians are very good people. The great majority are honest and hardworking and reliable. They deserve better. They deserve to be part of Europe.  They cannot understand why we from the ‘west’ have failed them. Why have we not provided them with military support against an aggressive Russian Federation under the control of Vladimir Putin.  Moreover, the great problem of corruption still hangs like a millstone around everyone’s neck in Ukraine.

Ukrainians are talented people. They are highly skilled in many professions.  During the early part of 2014 they set an example to the rest of Europe when they decided to overthrow a corrupt President and his corrupt government.  Unfortunately this proved unacceptable to Vladimir Putin and as we all know led to the invasion and annexation of Crimea and the continuing invasion into Eastern Ukraine.

I sincerely hope and pray that one day in the not too distant future the people of Ukraine can live in a peaceful and calm civilised society aligned to true Western European values.

Gerald Bowers

5 February 2015

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