EBRD welcomes progress from Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman Council

By Anton Usov


Algirdas Šemeta, Business Ombudsman of Ukraine

Ukraine’s Business Ombudsman Council publishes 2015 report

The EBRD has welcomed the publication of the first Annual Report of the Business Ombudsman Council of Ukraine (BOC) and praised the independent institution’s work.

“The Business Ombudsman has become the first point of contact for domestic and international businesses seeking redress against unfair treatment. The organisation has truly established itself as a bastion of transparent, unbiased attitudes towards businesses across the country”, said EBRD Director for Ukraine, Sevki Acuner.

The first Annual Report presents the Business Ombudsman’s results for  2015, the first year of operations for the institution which was launched with support of the EBRD.

In the reporting period May-December 2015, the BOC launched 342 investigations and successfully closed 151 cases.

As a result of these cases, a total of over UAH 2.7 billion (over $100 million) was returned to affected businesses.

Since the start of operations in May 2015, the BOC received complaints from businesses in all regions of Ukraine.

As a result of investigations, the BOC provided 123 recommendations to the respective government agencies, of which 63 per cent were implemented by the end of 2015.

The BOC also issued six detailed systemic reports, which addressed wide-ranging issues such as access to electricity, administration of business taxes, problems relating to cross-border trading and abuse of powers by law-enforcement authorities.  These recommendations are being gradually implemented by the authorities in close cooperation with the BOC.

The Business Ombudsman is a key element of the Anti-Corruption Initiative agreed under a Memorandum of Understanding signed in May 2014. The Business Ombudsman Council is funded by the Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account*.

The Anti-Corruption Initiative was launched as part of an international effort to improve the investment climate in Ukraine, which is greatly affected by corruption.

Algirdas Šemeta, Business Ombudsman of Ukraine, said:  “In less than a year  we have achieved significant results for hundreds of Ukrainian businesses. The government agencies defer to us and are ready to cooperate.

"We still have a long road ahead of us: cases to solve, investigations to conduct, legislation to discuss and draft, more government institutions to partner with, more businesses to protect.

"Our team has grown and gained experience, so I am confident that we, together, can make the big change happen – one small step after the other.”

 

* The Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-Donor Account is funded by: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.