How do ukrainian authorities care of enterprise development?
The first year work results of the new Parliament and the Government of Ukraine towards the inclusion of the interests of small and medium enterprises were summarized by experts at the roundtable on December 23, 2015.
This roundtable was held under the Project “Do the Authorities Really Care of the Interests of SMEs? (the first year work results of the Government and the Parliament of Ukraine)”, which is implemented by the Center for Public Expertise supported by the office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Ukraine. The roundtable was attended by representatives from business associations of small and medium enterprises, the central government, expert environment and international technical assistance. The roundtable was welcomed by the Deputy Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Office in Ukraine Volodymyr Oliynyk who stressed that any support to initiatives aimed at introducing public monitoring and accountability of public authorities is one of the priorities of the Foundation.
The experts from the Centre for Public Expertise Lubomyr Chornii, Natalia Baldych and Mykola Bulavynets presented the results of their study on evaluation of the legislative work of the Parliament and the Government of Ukraine to the roundtable attendees. The focus was on the issues relating to deregulation, improvement of business climate and general conditions for economic development.
The analytical report of the study disclosed the basic provisions of the adopted laws and draft laws during the period from November 27, 2014 to November 27, 2015, which affected or will affect the interests of SMEs.
The analysis revealed that more than 80% of the 53 adopted laws does not really have a significant impact on investment and business climate in the country and makes only a few changes to the current legislation. According to the experts, only the adopted 11 laws have positive impact on business environment, introducing some systemic changes in the state regulation of economic activity. Among them, the Laws of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Simplification of Business Conduct Conditions (Deregulation)”, “On Licensing of Economic Activity”, “On Electronic Commerce”, “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Individuals - Entrepreneurs and Civic Formations” and “On Scientific and Research Activity”.
The analytical report matched the provisions of the adopted laws with the pre-election programs of political parties whose representatives - MPs of Ukraine - initiated the relevant laws. The analysis showed that the adopted laws do not contradict virtually with the pre-election programs. But this is not only much due to the consistency of MPs but the unclear pre-election programs at most, their general declarative provisions, and the lack of specific mechanisms for keeping pre-election promises. The overall conclusion was that the program papers of political actors do not act as a pointer in their activity but contain a set of case declarations. The similar conclusions were drawn on the basis of the comparison of the adopted laws with the provisions of the Coalition Agreement between the Parliamentary Factions "European Ukraine" and the Government Action Program.
The roundtable also provided an evaluation of appropriate draft laws that are currently pending in the Parliament (there are 123 such instruments). The experts from the Centre for Public Expertise indicated that special attention, during their further passage in the Parliament, should be paid to 12 bills which are expected to negatively affect the business environment. Among them, for example, the draft laws of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences to Establish Responsibility for Unauthorized Placement of Temporary Structures” (registration number 2106), “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Regulation of Urban Development”, in respect of a share participation in a settlement development infrastructure” (No. 2361), “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Procedures for Payments in Foreign Currency”, in respect of foreign exchange regulation and control” (No. 2265).
The results of the study caused a lively discussion by other attendees of the roundtable. Thus, the importance of continuous monitoring of legislative activity that has an impact on the sector of small and medium businesses was stressed. It is necessary to increase the responsibility of the parliamentary political parties and factions and the Coalition Government that has been formed. The participants were unanimous in their opinion that a large number of legislative initiatives and amendments that are often inconsistent with the existing legal rules complicate and confuse the existing legislation. These legislative initiatives often offset those positive things that could be brought by other adopted legislative instruments. In this context, the new version of the Tax Code of Ukraine initiated by the Government caused a lot of complaints.
Therefore, according to many participants in the roundtable, the legislative activity of the Parliament requires a substantial reformatting, including that is in the terms of an analysis of regulatory impact of draft laws initiated by MPs. Similarly, the roundtable participants drew attention to the fact that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine does not follow its regulations for the procedures for preliminary consideration of draft laws and other instruments of the Government.
The Advisor to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Yaroslav Zhelezniak and the Head of the Effective Regulation Office Oleskii Honcharukparticipated in the discussion of the study results. They shared their vision of the current situation and plans for the next year of 2016.
The issue of how active the representatives of the business environment are in defending their interests when adopting those regulations which relate to their interests was also debatable. But the roundtable participants agreed that the regular monitoring of such regulatory activity of the authorities and wide awareness of all stakeholders about its results will facilitate the activation of entrepreneurs and strengthen the mechanisms of public control over the authorities.