24 November 2010

We need investment, but we do not need investors

"We need investment, but we do not need investors." Its an old Ukrainain saying.
But tends to ring true for most of us.

This week I will meet with some people from the 'XYZ Regional Administration' who are interested in promoting their region to potential foreign investors. Admirable that they want to do something to start attracting inward investment to their own region in Ukraine.

The good news is that these people have already started to approach things in a different way.
We are already talking about - a one stop shop - for approvals of planning permissions and permits etc and the 'guarantee' that problems will be solved quickly. This is music to my ears. How I wish I could have heard the same many years ago in Ukraine.

Anyhow, I am sure many of the new Governors and Heads of 'Oblast' Councils want to make a good impression on the President by proving they are doing something to attract foreign investors to their region.

So, step forward the British Business Club in Ukraine. We can do many things to help these regions attract investors but as I always explain it is NOT easy. We are in competition with regions in Poland (inside the EU) who are already much more user freindly than Ukrainians can get their head around.

We actually need to start moving to towards the establishment of the first 'Inward Investment Agency' in Ukraine that has the full support of both national and regional governments.
We NEED to be able to convince potential investors that they will NOT have problems in establishing a presence in Ukraine. We need to show that obtaining planning permissions and construction permits are not a nightmare as in the past.

The big dream for most of us is to start attracting those British companies that are already brave enough to relocate and set up new production facilities in Poland. If only we could persude them to take a few steps further into Ukraine, where they would benefit from substantial savings even lower operating costs than in Poland and we would all be happy.

So the process starts this week. I will try to keep you updated.

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