26 August 2012

Politics and Business in Ukraine

Its well known in Ukraine that the majority of the members of parliament are business people in some form.
It reminds me to a small degree of the Thatcher years in the UK, when almost every Government Minister had a successful track record in business.
As many of the members of parliament here in Ukraine have business 'interests', you would expect to see these people acting like 'professional business people'.  The bad news is..NO, they cannot act like professional business people as they have very little experience in actually managing a business. They just 'own things', which is not the same.

As there is an election campaign currently underway, you would expect to hear much talk about the usual things that elections are all about, e.g. The Economy. Business, Jobs, Education, Healthcare, Social Justice etc etc. But not here in Ukraine. Well maybe not yet. Lets hope that things will get serious before election day on 28th October 2012.

The Government of Ukraine has a very 'hands on' approach when it comes to their approach to businesses in the economy. Sometimes, I think they assume that all the money circulating in the economy belongs to THEM...The Government, or maybe just those 450 members of the VIP club we call Parliament here.

Foreigners and foreign owned businesses here have helped to highlight how out of date government policies are towards business in Ukraine. For Ukrainians who have never worked in a small/medium size business or in fact worked in a business in another country it is difficult for them to understand how BAD the system really is in Ukraine.

An example is the pressure applied to banks by the ever present National Bank of Ukraine, Ministry of Economy and the State Tax Administration.  A business person operating under the 'private entrepreneur' scheme will come up against many barriers from his/her own bank when they are doing business.
An attempt to withdraw money from a business bank account will be met with a request from the bank employees for the business person to prove FIRST that they have paid their due taxes this month!!!.
Unless proof can be provided immediately, funds cannot be withdrawn from the bank.
Banks are still acting as unpaid agents of the government.

It would be interested to hear from some of those politicians up for re-election, how they intend to approach this subject. Will they just support its continuance or suggest alternatives to this overbearing policy.

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