Online meetings with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal
On 2 April the online meetings with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Ihor Petrashko, Minister for Development of Economy, Trade, and Agriculture was organized with American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine (ACC) and European Business Association (EBA). Issues of cooperation with the business community, international financial institutions, business support and possible ways out of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were among the topics for discussion.
American Chamber of Commerce
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal together with Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Ihor Petrashko held their first online meeting with the Board of Directors, management and members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, representing over 600 leading investors - international and domestic companies operating in Ukraine.
"We understand that the measures taken by the Government may be somewhat unpopular and stern for businesses, but they are effective in preserving the lives and health of Ukrainian citizens. We are following a milder scenario in the context of epidemic development. However, that does not mean that we never choose drastic action," stressed Denys Schmyhal.
The Prime Minister noted, however, that the Government was cooperating with business and well aware of the problems entrepreneurs are facing. Those are credit programs, tax relief, and more. Other urgent issues being currently worked out are the extending of the 5-7-9 lending program.
"We are working with the NBU and other banks. There is an instruction of the President of Ukraine to work out loan exposure", said Denys Shmyhal.
The Government has also embarked on the development of a program to create fast jobs in various industries. The work on a large-scale economic strategy is now underway.
"There are no ready-made recipes for solving the crisis, but the Government is actively searching those ways out together with business and the best scientists," said the Head of Government.
President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine Andy Hunder noted: "The Chamber's member companies are actively helping Ukraine to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Further cooperation with the IMF is of critical importance for everyone these days."
Denys Shmyhal also told that the Government had received a positive message from the IMF and hoped that Ukraine would receive the first tranche in the near future. Apart from that, financial assistance from the World Bank is expected.
Andy Hunder also stressed that the Chamber was engaged in active dialogue with the Prime Minister's office: “We have already submitted our proposals for the economic growth of Ukraine and a detailed action plan for their implementation. We are ready to continue our cooperation to support the business and economy of Ukraine. "
The Prime Minister thanked business for support in this challenging time for the country against the background of the global pandemic and expressed hopes for further fruitful cooperation.
Key highlights of the meeting by President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine Andy Hunder:
- Ukraine plans to "restart the economy" in May after deepening stricter quarantine measures this month to slow the spread of coronavirus
- The strategy lies in the fact that Ukraine can't afford an extended quarantine of two, three, four months
- Families and businesses do not have a sufficient "stock of reserves" to economically sustain a longer lockdown
- Upon easing restrictions on businesses in May, the elderly and children still have to stay home
- Ukraine's economy could shrink by 4 percent after growing in past years at 2.4-3.4 percent
- State finances will be stabilized by an $8bn loan from the IMF and billions of dollars of additional funding from foreign backers
- The IMF and World Bank had given "positive" signals after the country's parliament voted on two reforms that are required to unlock the international funds
- The Government has launched a fund to fight COVID-19 aimed to reach UAH 90-100 billion
- The Government will not make the restrictions for business more robust and called enterprises to be responsible and create safe conditions on their enterprises
- Support of businesses – the Government works on the credit programs, reducing the tax burden, and extension of the "5-7-9" lending program. The Government also works with the National Bank on the credit load
- Think tank under the PM – the Prime Minister announced the creation of a special think tank with top-professionals to discuss all proposals from the business community that can be further transformed into resolutions and draft laws to support the economy. ACC will be a member
- Movement of goods will not stop
- Green corridor for medicines and essentials is working. If a company has a problem at customs, please let us know
- The PM advised to use a risk-oriented approach with workers at borders (e.g., drivers) in case they have the confirmed COVID-19 case
- Renewables – the PM plans to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the industry that will serve as a basis for the draft law
- Agreed to follow-up on allowing companies to transport employees to work by private transport and liaise with local authorities on access to public transport for critically important staff
- The PM supports the idea of the digitalization of all processes, i.e., cutting soviet style red-tape bureaucracy
European Business Association
This was stated by Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal during the first online meeting with representatives of the European Business Association and with the participation of the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Ihor Petrashko.
“Nobody in the world is capable of anticipating the future. Together with the business community, we are working on a strategy to overcome the consequences and to find the way out of the crisis. We have several scenarios. But it is too early to comment on those,” the Head of Government noted.
Moreover, the Prime Minister stressed that Ukraine has a high human resource capacity these days. These are people who used to work abroad and now have returned to their Homeland.
“The Government is working on a program to create fast jobs in various industries. Hundreds of thousands of people who have returned back to Ukraine and have high skills, work experience and corporate culture, are a good resource for reviving the economy. Businesses should try to attract manpower,” said Denys Shmyhal.
In addition, the Prime Minister emphasized that the Government had received positive messages from international financial institutions, in particular from the IMF and the World Bank.
"We will have good financial resource to get through this challenging time," said the Head of Government.
In turn, Executive Director of the European Business Association Anna Derevyanko thanked the Prime Minister for a constructive dialogue with business and expressed her hope that such meetings would be held on a regular basis.
“Today we have managed to tackle a number of issues pertaining to macroeconomic stability, energy, logistics, possible business support tools, and so on. After all, in such a difficult time for the country, it is critical to maintain communications and develop synergy of business with the authorities in order to understand whether the country is moving in the right direction and what else we can do to endure this crisis. So we look forward to the next discussion,” Anna Derevyanko summarized.
For his part, the Prime Minister stressed that the world of today is suffering from uncertainty and volatility. Denys Shmyhal assured that the Government will exert every effort to make it easy for businesses to get through the crisis.