“This is a cry from our hearts! Listen to us at last!” Such were the appeals of small- and medium- business owners to the government during the All-Ukrainian Congress of Business people (Open Market Traders), held on October 6 in the House of Officers in Kyiv. This is the second time that business people from all over Ukraine came to Kyiv to tell the authorities about their problems. The first congress of business people was held on September 23, 2010, in front of the Verkhovna Rada building. However, no government official had come out to them on that day. Conversely, the October 6 meeting was attended by the chairman of the State Committee of Ukraine on Regulatory Policy and Entrepreneurship Mykhailo Brodsky.
“We started working on the market not to enrich ourselves, but simply to survive in the current economic situation,” said Olena, a businesswoman from Cherkasy.
The main demands concerned some “unacceptable,” in the businesspersons’ words, provisions in the draft Tax Code. The protesters’ main proposals included an abolition of the compulsory introduction of cash registers in retail trade and bills of origin, limits on the powers of the tax service, and raising the maximum annual gross turnover for the simplified accounting system.
“We are not dogs to be forced to bark at the corner,” said Liudmyla Yatsenko, representing Bila Tserkva branch of the Small Business Owners Union. “Business wants to work, business wants to be understood, and business wants to finally be heard!”
In response, Mykhailo Brodsky said the government was ready for dialog and compromise. The first steps to meet the businesspeople’s demands were, in his words, the abolition of mandatory cash registers and bills of origin, limiting the powers of tax service and so on. “With the adoption of the Tax Code, we will abolish the market fee,” added Brodsky. For now, he said, the state treasury received only some 30 percent of all fees collected, the rest going to market-owners.
In addition, the State Committee Chairman said that the government was developing a draft law on internal trade, which would regulate relations between the trader and the owner of a market. According to Brodsky, the adoption of this act will resolve the issue of excessive monopolization of markets and excessive taxation of businesses that are now subject to extortion by all services, starting with police and ending with firemen.
For its part, the state demands that business people honestly pay their taxes. “We must be socially responsible to everybody: retirees, doctors, the public in general. Taxes should be paid in full. It’d be better for us to pay taxes ourselves than to ask the IMF for money every time,” said Brodsky.