Isolation is fatal: why should businesses unite
Alexander Sokolov, Head of the Odessa regional representative office of the SUP, the owner of the Smilefood online restaurants
A week ago, the Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs (SUP) - the largest association of Ukrainian businessmen - elected a new board of directors. As always, the new board consists of the most experienced businessmen of our country, who managed to create companies such as Farmak, UBC Group, Novaya Poshta, TIS, Dobrobut, and many others. In general, the Union has brought together more than 800 companies that pay 65 billion hryvnias of taxes to the budget, creating 350 thousand jobs.
In the world, there are different formats of business unions: business associations, chambers of commerce, employers' unions, business clubs. And if the last ones mostly focused on informal communication and networking, SUP has a different mission - to influence the legislative framework and improve the business climate in our still corrupt country.
The public position of large businessmen is capable of stirring up not one hornet's nest. That is why I always with interest read Facebook of Alexander Sokolovsky, the founder of the Textil-Contact group and a member of the SUP board of directors, who openly speaks out about illegal tenders or procurements.
Thanks to publicity, last year Taryan Group - the company - member of the SUP - won the battle in which representatives of the special services tried to get apartments for free in one of the company's new buildings.
At one time, Novaya Pochta was not afraid to bring to the public plane a conflict on the basis of searches by General’s Prosecutor Office. For me it was a very significant case.
Another example is the factory Ekoniya, which produce water brand “Malyatko”, was fended off from a raider attack by the efforts of another member of the board of directors Timur Bondarev from Arzinger law firm.
Therefore, it is obvious to me - uniting and building up power, it is easier to change the rules of the game.
In Ukraine or in our neighboring countries, Bulgaria and Poland, membership in such associations is voluntary. But, for example, in Germany, it is mandatory, in particular, in the Federal Congress of Chambers of Commerce and the Central Union of German artisan associations. Their members even have the right to veto bills.
Alas, we have no right to veto, but we continue to fight against initiatives that are killing the already fragile business climate in the country. So, one such documents is Law No. 466 (draft No. 1210), which significantly increases the fiscal burden, and in times of crisis, it simply makes impossible full recovery.
And this is after the business actually strengthened the role of the state in the fight against the pandemic, taking on the lion's share of the functions of providing hospitals with everything necessary - from food and clothing to multi-million equipment.
The business, for the umpteenth time, turned out to be more maneuverable, faster, with a better reputation in international markets and a more efficient decision-making logic. After all, we spent our money, no one wanted to either cash in or get a kickback.
There are so many fears, it is already difficult to plan.
However, what do we see? A clear trend, indicating a significant expansion of the powers of fiscals, in other words, untying the hands to tax service. In autumn, bill No. 1053 “On the use of settlement operations registrars in the field of trade, public catering, and services” will come into force. Everyone rebelled against it and then forget, but this law, supposedly designed to fight the shadow economy, in essence, presupposes complete fiscalization and will finish off those small businesses that left after quarantine. Is the little hairdresser ready to keep such a financial record?
Another of the “good news” is the NBU’s innovations regarding countering the financing of terrorism: if payments are made from different IPs to different cards, then you can already be suspected. But what about an outsourced accountant who works from his apartment and runs 10 enterprises at the same time?
For business, seized accounts 2-3 months - it is a death. So the businessman will be forced to go and negotiate.
Today, business is waiting for a moratorium on inspections at least until the end of this year. Every day I get targeted advertising offers about services that help to move the company to any of the countries of the world. I will say more - more often I start to notice conversations about how good to conduct business abroad at business forums and YouTube programs.
And every day the business leaves Ukraine. Every day, money goes to other jurisdictions. There, where it is easier to pay and where there is no corruption. And if everyone leaves and there will be no one to pay?
What remains for the government with such a strategy - to put more pressure on those who remain?
But while we are here, we need to stick together.