The state and business must work as a team, as allies who have a common interest - a successful and prosperous Ukraine. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a speech at the All-Ukrainian Forum "Ukraine 30. Small and Medium Business and State", which the President attended together with President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda.
In parallel with the All-Ukrainian Forum, the 6th Ukrainian-Lithuanian Economic Forum "Economy and Pandemic: Crisis and New Opportunities" was held by video conference, so the presidents addressed the participants of both events.
"Development of small and medium business was an important priority of my program when I ran for presidency, and today it is a priority for our government and our state. Small and medium business is the basis of the economy, which creates 60% of GDP, seven million jobs and almost 40% of tax revenues," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The President reminded of the steps taken to improve the business climate in Ukraine. In particular, more than 160 decrees, which hampered business development with numerous restrictions, were repealed. A moratorium on business inspections has been introduced. Laws have been passed on the concession, the land market, state support for investors, the Bureau of Economic Security, which entrepreneurs and investors have been waiting for for years. Large-scale privatization has also begun in Ukraine and will definitely be continued.
"We have achieved good macroeconomic indicators - record low inflation in the history of Ukraine, the discount rate of the National Bank of Ukraine and the maximum level of gold and foreign exchange reserves over the past eight years. Ukraine has risen in the Doing Business rating and raised its credit rating," the President said.
He also focused on the launch of the program "Affordable loans 5-7-9%", under which small and medium businesses today received more than 10 billion hryvnias. In addition, the public services portal "Diia" was launched, which made it possible to register a private entity in 15 minutes.
The President added that these and other measures allowed Ukraine in 2020, during the COVID-19 crisis, to withstand and face smaller fall than that of many countries in Europe and the world.
"Now we are recovering and we have every reason to expect economic growth in 2021," said the President.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that based on the results of the state audit, the government has developed and approved the National Economic Strategy until 2030 with specific goals and objectives for each industry, and small and medium-sized businesses are given maximum attention.
Also, according to the President, for effective interaction of business with the state, the Council for the Promotion of Small Business Development has been established, which should develop solutions that will remove obstacles and improve the conditions for doing business in Ukraine.
"For many years, there were conditions that facilitated work "in the shadows" and salaries in envelopes. We understand this because there was distrust of the state. I understand that it still exists. Therefore, people evaded taxes. However, times are changing. We strive for fair, transparent and uniform rules of the game. But this "game" is possible only with the participation of two players: the state and business. We need your steps, dear businessmen, readiness to work honestly, openly and very responsibly. Let's prove together that this is really possible in Ukraine,” the Head of State addressed the entrepreneurs.
The President stressed that the state is working to implement important domestic reforms, including cleaning up Ukraine's judiciary, overcoming corruption, digitizing processes, reducing the role of the state where it is ineffective, and passing important laws on the economy, including zero declaration and tax on withdrawn capital.
"Of course, in all the reforms necessary for sustainable economic growth, the support and experience of our friends and our international partners, in particular Lithuania, is important. The joint work of business circles of our countries has a good history and significant prospects," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The President reminded that today the Ukrainian-Lithuanian Business Council works actively, the Confederation of Lithuanian Industrialists, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs cooperate, and a dialogue has been established between business associations of both countries. In addition, the 4th International Conference on Reforms in Ukraine will take place in Vilnius this summer.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also thanked his Lithuanian counterpart for participating in the forum and willingness to share valuable European experience that will be useful for both civil servants and Ukrainian entrepreneurs.
Gitanas Nausėda, for his part, added that both Lithuania and Ukraine found themselves in a very difficult situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to protect the lives and health of citizens.
"On the other hand, we have the opportunity to emerge stronger from this pandemic. We need to make economies more viable, to raise the welfare of our citizens. Special attention should be paid to SMEs," said the President of Lithuania, adding that this applies to both countries.