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Olshanskyy: ‘When the Verkhovna Rada voted to lift the immunity of MPs, it handed over power to the security forces’

On 18 April, as part of the joint project of and EFI Group ‘New Country’, a discussion panel on the revival of the Ukrainian economy and the interaction between government and business was held, which was joined by Oleksandr Olshanskyy, President of Internet Invest Group. In particular, he spoke about the problems in the relationship between the business community and the government and their solutions.

Oleksandr Olshanskyy, the father-founder of the Ukrainian Internet
Photo: Oleh Pereverzyev
Oleksandr Olshanskyy, the father-founder of the Ukrainian Internet
Currently, every third company has its tax invoices blocked, which is a manifestation of pressure, said Olshanskyy.

‘30% of companies face blocking of tax invoices in Ukraine. That is, every third company has at least one blocked tax invoice within a month. Small or large, it doesn't matter.

The tax authorities are falsifying these statistics. It correlates the number of blocked tax invoices not with the number of companies that actually operate, but with companies that are registered as VAT payers but have not filed any declarations for a long time. They have 250,000 registered taxpayers, of whom about 80 are still alive. The second way to falsify the data is to correlate the amount of money they have blocked with the amount of VAT in the country, rather than the number of companies that have had problems.

If every third company in the country is ‘manipulating’ VAT, then something is wrong either with the tax authorities or with VAT,’ Olshanskyy said.'

He noted that he had been to two meetings with the Presidential Office's Business Support Council to address business concerns and summarised: ‘The problem is not in this building.’

Photo: Oleh Pereverzyev

‘I was in business and I don't remember much differently. I'm not saying it's good. I am saying that it has never been different. I think there is some root to this problem and we need to look for it. And it's not in the Law ‘On BES’ or in the jurisdiction. I think this root is much deeper.

Back in 2014, when I was running for parliament, at some point I was asked to play a game: if there was a magic wand that could grant only one wish, and you wanted to make some reforms for the better in this country, what wish would you make? What institution needs to be changed or what basis needs to be laid to stop 30 years of walking in a vicious circle? ...I still don't know what the right answer is. I have two answers. First, I would change the electoral system. The second is the judicial system. I still can't decide. But I'm afraid the first answer is more correct. The Verkhovna Rada will still be at the end of this chain. As Roman Petrovych Bezsmertnyy said: ‘The Verkhovna Rada can make any decision’. After all, all power in this country belongs to it,’ the businessman stressed.

‘The Verkhovna Rada has written the laws that are being implemented. It is the Verkhovna Rada that can pass anything with 300 votes, he stressed.

‘In every country in the world, power belongs to either elected representatives or security forces. There is no other distribution. There is only one indicator - the immunity of elected people. On the day when the Verkhovna Rada voted to lift the immunity of MPs, it transferred power from its hands, the hands of elected representatives of the people, to the hands of security forces. We elected them to protect us from arbitrariness. How can they protect us from anything if they are unable to protect themselves?’ Olshanskyy asked.

It is up to the parliament to solve all business problems, he believes.

 Oleksandr Olshanskyy, the father-founder of the Ukrainian Internet
Photo: Oleh Pereverzyev
Oleksandr Olshanskyy, the father-founder of the Ukrainian Internet

‘I agree that we need deregulation, that we need to change the tax system, the courts... Just tell me, where are these wonderful people who will do all this? Where are they?

Two days ago, I read a post by Popereshnyuk saying that the country's energy situation is very bad, we are in for all sorts of trouble, and that we should cancel the licences for the production and sale of electricity. Right now. Let's raise the price of electricity. Let's make this country the most promising country for investment in the electricity sector. Any kind of investment.

Can it be done? It can be done. Where are the wonderful people who will do it? My opinion does not change here. I believe that the executive branch acts within the framework set by the law. Unfortunately, this is true. This is how our country works,’ Olshanskyy concluded.

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