Is it possible for small and big businesses to sound in one voice? How could reforms unite European integration trends and the real economic situation in Ukraine? Who can act as a third party to analyze pros & cons?
These questions were raised in the process of preparation of the National Business Coalition Forum in Kyiv in September, 2019. A lot of work was done to mediate the disputes inside the Coalition.
But if people spend their time to study legislative initiatives, hold series of meetings and figure out something - it seems they believe in their ability to change something in this country. And this is already an indicator that the democratic system is working.
The most controversial issues were total fiscalisation and simplified tax system. But even in spite of the tense mood of the entrepreneurial community, everything went constructively.
Future legislative novations have been discussed by political parties representatives, business association leaders and economic experts. More than 350 proactive entrepreneurs and government officials took part in the event. Almost all leading business TV channels and media came to cover this discussion.
The interest was also high among the international organizations, so a simultaneous translation and English-language version of the forum materials were provided for the foreign guests.
And one of the most valuable achievements was collective funding of organization and logistics by the business associations. When real resources are investing into a joint advocacy, public private dialogue comes on a whole new level.
To answer briefly to the questions above:
- The interests of big and small businesses differ significantly. And contradictions for lots of issues can be fundamental. However, there are a number of changes that benefit every entrepreneur. Such as reducing administrative burdens or provision of electronic workflow. A single voice of business should be concentrated around these joint solutions.
- Taking into account European integration and the real economic situation is sometimes difficult within reform process. However, the EU vector for Ukraine was set correctly, reforms are going fast, and the algorithm of influence of the business community on policy making has been worked out.
- When there is a conflict of interest "business vs state" or "small vs big business" - to analyze for and against conceptual decisions it is more logical and correct to involve independent think tanks. Only with independent evaluation there is a chance to make a balanced decision, even if it does not fully suit each of the parties.
For the last five years there is a progress in the public private dialog (PPD). Entrepreneurial associations are becoming more powerful and influential, proposals from the business community more professional, and methods of bringing them to public authorities more civilized. In particular, thanks to the European programs, such as East Invest II.
Two PPD directions remain open:
- Systematic monitoring of the politicians’ promises to the business community, as well as assessing impact of these novations on the business climate.
- Cooperation between the public and private sectors at the level of implementation, especially in the context of decentralization in Ukraine.
There is always a room for improvement. And a lot of Ukrainian experience, which will be useful for the Eastern Partnership. In any case, an independent moderator or facilitator of the dialogue is definitely needed for each country. It will simplify and speed-up the process of European integration, increasing trade flows and introducing democratic values.