31 December 2010

Farewell to 2010 - Hello New Year 2011

The year 2010 has been another eventful and interesting year in Ukraine. Many will claim that the country is now 'stable' now that a 'strong' President is in total control of the country and he is quick to remove anyone who is seen as in opposition. The scenes a few weeks ago in the parliament of elected members physically fighting amongst each other, reminded us all that Ukraine still has a long way to go to show the rest of the world it is a civilised country ready for foreign investment.

My experience is that 2010 was a difficult year for everyone. There are still many business sectors that may yet experience further difficulties in 2011, e.g Banking and Real Estate.
The government tried to introduce a new tax code which caused protest on the streets in Ukraine.
Tax avoidance and even tax evasion is widely practiced in the business community. Very few people in Ukraine pay the correct level of taxes. Looking towards 2011, I think we will see further difficulties as the Ukraine government always tries to introduce new legislation before it has been fully thought through how it will work in practice.

Lets all hope that 2011 will be a year where people can be confident about making investment decisions without the continual fear of what the government might do next? (We can all hope).

The relationship between Ukraine and the EU appears to be hot and cold and forever changing.
Ukraine still has a long way to go before the EU would be prepared to offer anything like a chance of EU membership. Corruption, Rule of Law, are just two areas that would need to see changes. Those of us who live here know it will be a LONG process to combat corruption.
I would go as far to say that Ukraine will never become a member of the EU during my lifetime.

During 2011 we will see more changes in the business community in Ukraine. The British Business Club will also see changes and I am confident we will see more members and clients taking up opportunities via the BBCU.
I wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2011

17 December 2010

Fighting in Ukraine Parliament AGAIN

NOTHING can be worse for the image of Ukraine as to see video images of members of parliament fighting like common thugs within the Parliament building. Yesterday these images were seen around the world. The parliamentary opposition were protesting about the legal action now being taken against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

It's difficult for me to explain to people outside Ukraine, that Ukraine is a 'civilised' country.
Its always one step forward and two steps back in Ukraine.

14 December 2010

Offshore Remote Working

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Outsourcing, remote working, etc all buzzwords to many people. But is now being taken more seriously. Not just for low cost reasons but also as a smarter way of getting work done.

Sri Lanka is an ideal place for 'remote working', so I will be working from here for the next few months. The BBCU will continue to operate a normal.
The only down side is that I will have to celebrate Christmas and New Year in the sun!!!!

08 December 2010

Only 3 Weeks to go

Yes, just three more weeks and its the year end. In Ukraine most companies use the calendar year end as the financial year end. Its a good time for sorting out the accounts and making sure people get paid. I hope some of our BBCU Members will remember this!

The year 2010 has been interesting for Ukraine. New President, new government, tax code protests. Here is a quick review of the year.

January/February – Presidential elections took place and Victor Yanakovyich was elected the 4th President of Ukraine. Very little business happened as most people claimed they were waiting for the result.
March – VAT refund problems continued. BBCU held a meeting ‘Ukraine under a new President and new government’.
April – BBCU meeting ‘Getting back to Business’
May - New government elected in the UK. Annual ‘Ukraine Investment Summit in London. BBCU meeting ‘Doing Business in Ukraine’
June – Ukraine government announces procedures for VAT Bonds. UK government announces major cut backs in its budget. BBCU meeting ‘Annual Golf Day’.
July – British Prime Minister talks tough to Ambassadors: quote
"I want you to ask yourself every day: 'What am I doing to promote British business?' If you want to keep Britain's great ambassadorial residences, then I want you to show me that every day you are using them relentlessly to open new trade links and to generate new business for Britain."
BBCU held a social event at the ‘Peter Lik Art Gallery’
August – Very hot summer in Ukraine and many people escaped somewhere for a holiday. September – Ukraine government announces visa free travel to Hong Kong (lets hope its good for business). BBCU held a joint meeting with the British Ukrainian Society ‘The world today seen from London and Kyiv’
October – BBCU meeting ‘Property Market in Ukraine. Ukraine government announces intention to sell Ukrtelecom by tender before end of 2010. Telenor announces plan to close its office in Ukraine. BBCU meeting ‘UK Immigration Law and Visas’
November – ‘Doing Business 2011’ (World Bank Report) shows Ukraine at 145th place from 183 countries. EU-Ukraine Summit held and Ukraine is given a ‘road map’ from the EU.
Protests across Ukraine over the new ‘Tax Code’. BBCU meeting ‘Celebrating the British Community in Ukraine’
December – Ukraine President vetoes the new tax code and instructs the government to review it and work with business representatives and unions, but a few days later the quickly revised proposed law is voted through in record speed. They just didn't read anything.

BBCU will hold its Christmas party on 23 December 2010

Hope you all enjoy the build up to the festive season.

07 December 2010

Investing in Ukraine

Lets HOPE that FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) will pick up in Ukraine soon.

The Future of the Euro?

Nigel Farage tells it in his usual way.
What future does the Euro have?

03 December 2010

Russia wins 2018 World Cup bid in Zurich

Vova Putin speaks in English again after Russia wins the World Cup bid for 2018.
He did the same after they won the 2014 Winter Olympics bid.
I'm sure it will be a great success if the project is driven along by him.

01 December 2010

New Ukraine 'Tax Code' is vetoed

Yesterday the Ukrainian President vetoed the new tax code already passed by parliament.
It would appear something new will take place in Ukraine as a result....negotiations with representatives from the electorate. The President has instruction the cabinet of ministers, i.e the Prime Minister to hold talks involving representatives from business and the unions.
Lets hope that it's not just a show and that REAL negotiations can take place and a tax reforms can be introduced that are acceptable to all sides. (But that maybe asking too much also).

It's difficult to imagine any new reforms being ready to be implemented for the planned date of
1 January 2011, but this is Ukraine and the majority of new legislation is usually rushed through without any consultation and very little thought given as to how it will be implemented.

On another note, winter has arrived with the first snow and its getting icy and very cold here.
Many business people I know are already planning LONG winter holidays outside Ukraine or for those who enjoy winter sports they will 'escape' top the mountains in the west of Ukraine.

UIA (Ukraine International Airlines) celebrated their 18th Birthday recently and decided to make a special offer by providing tickets from USD 180 return to over 20 cities around Europe and the Middle East. I hear it has been a great success and many flights are full for the holiday season already.