By Andrei Skvarsky.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Ukrainian government have agreed a short-term plan to set up a public-private working group and the office of business ombudsman in Ukraine to address the country’s vast-scale corruption.
Later on, the EBRD and Ukraine will be developing a comprehensive initiative to fight the social illness seen as the cause of the country’s deteriorating business climate, the bank said in a statement after a meeting in London on February 15 between EBRD president Suma Chakrabarti and Ukrainian Revenues and Taxes Minister Olexander Klymenko.
“We need to see concrete steps taken rapidly. It will not be enough to pass laws. They have to be fairly implemented to ensure a level playing field. Action needs to be taken to stamp out corruption at all levels,” an EBRD statement quoted Chakrabarti as saying.
The EBRD is the biggest investor in Ukraine, having put more than 8bn euros in over 315 projects. However, Chakrabarti warned earlier in February, as quoted by Reuters, that “the scope and scale of our investment will depend on the business climate”.
“In recent months, as you all know, the business climate has deteriorated,” he said.
The EBRD invests about $1bn a year in the former Soviet republic, according to Reuters.
Ukraine was the world’s second worst-performing stock market last year after Cyprus.