Halyna Hereha, co-owner of the Epicentr hypermarket chain
1. How do you envision Ukraine's post-war recovery? Where should the main efforts be directed?
The concepts of "restoration" or "reconstruction" are not entirely fitting, in my opinion. We must clearly understand that after the war is over, we need to build a new country, not rebuild the ruins.
We will have a unique opportunity to restart the country's economy and infrastructure, not just by upgrading existing production facilities, but by creating new and modern ones. We have long been saying that Ukraine needs to evolve from a raw material state into a high-tech industrial country. Not just supply raw materials to the West, but do deep processing. To produce a competitive end product with high added value. After the war, we will have the chance to do so.
Certainly, this process should be accompanied by the creation - at the state level – of favourable conditions for the development of entrepreneurship and economic growth. We have to change not only from the outside, we have to change from the inside.
Many people are waiting for help from international financial institutions, but they need to understand that only those projects that have a specific, step-by-step business plan will be funded. So, to receive funds tomorrow, we need to start working today.
Obviously, the post-war period will require the speedy reconstruction of housing destroyed or damaged as a result of hostilities. This is another priority task. How quick Ukrainians who have moved abroad return will also depend on the implementation of effective housing programmes for the affected. In turn, large-scale construction and population growth will stimulate economic development.
These processes will be further accelerated by liberalised tax and customs policies, as well as access to cheap loans for businesses. Another important task for the government is to reform the judiciary, which will ensure the protection of investors' rights and bring international companies back to the Ukrainian market faster.
2. Which industries should drive the Ukrainian economy after the war?
In my opinion, the main drivers of the economy will be trade, construction, IT and the agricultural sector. No doubt that the end of the war will inevitably lead to gradual economic growth, improved consumer sentiment and increased trade. At the same time, given the scale of destruction caused to the country during the hostilities, the real estate sector will show particularly dynamic growth. The end of the war will also give a powerful boost to the agricultural industry, which is currently suffering from the blockade of seaports.
3. What are the main challenges in the post-war development of Ukraine?
Given the current circumstances, it can be assumed that the main challenges to post-war development will be:
· inefficient use of funds;
· destruction of industrial enterprises;
· lack of skilled labour.
At the same time, we are confident that the country's society and authorities will be able to overcome these challenges, and Ukraine will take an important place in the community of European states.
4. What should be the role of the state and the private sector on this path?
The options for cooperation between the state and business in the post-war reconstruction process can be completely different: from government orders for housing reconstruction to preferences for business participation in infrastructure reconstruction projects and the construction of industrial parks.
But it is important to understand that businesses that survive in today's extremely difficult conditions, pay taxes and provide jobs for millions of people are already making a huge contribution to the country's stability.
Entrepreneurship is the main driver of the economy. The sooner the business sector recovers and starts to grow, the sooner we can rebuild the country after the war. The active development of the economy will help attract additional investments into the country and increase tax receipts to the budgets of all levels. These funds can be the key to a rapid post-war recovery.