The government should not only assist businesses with money but also protect them – Alona Lebedieva

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmyhal has announced that this year the government allocates over 40 billion UAH from the budget for stimulating economic activity and supporting Ukrainian entrepreneurs. Minister of Economy Yulia Sviridenko mentioned the sum of 500 million dollars from the World Bank.

On one hand, the Ukrainian government demonstrates a clear understanding of the role of businesses in national development, seeking to provide support in challenging conditions. On the other hand, the state currently owes commercial banks 7 billion UAH in compensation under the ‘Affordable Loans 5-7-9%’ program. And this is just one example of the overall problem of our planning and coordination of government actions“, says Alona Lebedieva, the owner of the Ukrainian diversified industrial-investment group of companies “Aurum Group”.

The question remains open not only about debts and financing, but also about those figures that are made public. Because it is currently unclear – will there be more money, as Shmyhal said, or less, as Svyridenko said? With a terrible budget deficit, we all clearly understand , that any funds to support business will come from international donors, but what is more impressive is the incoherence of actions and promises of government officials, not to mention the significant disparity in the declared aid, I never found a clear plan for this very aid in the original sources“, she says Alona Lebedieva.

She also emphasized that, besides financial support, businesses need security guarantees – protection against the arbitrariness of law enforcement. This, too, can stimulate work, economic growth, and ensure the stability of the state. In this context, the creation of the Business Support Council initiated by the President may indicate intentions to address these issues, signaling a positive development. However, it is essential not to forget that under each president, various commissions, committees, or anti-raider groups were established, but business did not feel tangible changes.

Unfortunately, there is a presumption of guilt in Ukraine now, unlike all developed countries and EU countries, to which we all aspire. The source of Ukrainian business’ problems with law enforcement agencies is improper and dishonest government management. A system where almost no company is recognized as a violator of any rule is a system where law enforcement agencies have the opportunity and the temptation to “suppress” dissent“, the business ombudsman quotes.

In the context of recent high-profile cases, the blocking of enterprises, and scandalous detentions of well-known businessmen, including investment banker Igor Mazepa, entrepreneurs need not only money but also security guarantees. They need protection from those who have the power of baseless initiation of criminal proceedings, imposition of property or account arrests, or inclusion in sanctions lists. Today, businesses hope that the state will meet their expectations, unlike before when there were only promises“, added Alona Lebedieva.

She is confident that Europeans, giving us the ‘green light’ for EU accession, will now closely monitor all processes in Ukraine. How the government behaves towards entrepreneurs will also impact the speed of Eurointegration.

In Europe, there are no double standards or selective justice. Law and order are extremely important there. We also need to follow this path, and the sooner we do, the easier it will be to live and work in Ukraine“, says Lebedieva.

Therefore, businesses expect clear messages, prompt, and systemic transformations that will create conditions for entrepreneurial initiatives and stimulate economic growth; otherwise, it will become increasingly challenging to sustain the economic front.