KIEV Feb 5 Ukraine needs to step up its fight
against corruption to improve its deteriorating business
climate, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
said on Tuesday.
The international lender, which invests about $1 billion a
year in the former Soviet republic, has been receiving an
increasing number of complaints from companies working in
Ukraine, EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said.
Businesses have complained, in particular, about their
treatment by tax and customs officials and courts, he told
reporters on a visit to the country.
"The scope and scale of our investment will depend on the
business climate," Chakrabarti said.
"In recent months, as you all know, the business climate has
Chakrabarti did not provide any specific examples of
complaints, but Ukrainian business lobby groups complained last
year tax authorities, seeking to plug the growing budget
deficit, were forcing companies to make advance tax payments.
Complaints about straightforward corruption are also common.
"We want to see much more action to tackle corruption at all
levels," Chakrabarti said.
"It is not just about passing laws, of course.
Implementation is needed. We need concrete steps on these
He said he had raised those concerns when he met senior
Ukrainian officials including President Viktor Yanukovich.
Observers say corruption is commonplace in Ukraine, just
like in many other ex-Soviet nations.
In 2011, the European Union suspended financial aid to the
Ukrainian government after Kiev failed to pass a law on public
procurement ensuring that all purchases by the state are
transparent and competitive.
Securing foreign investment is becoming an increasingly
important - and tough - task for Ukraine as its economy has gone
into recession due to the falling global demand for steel, the
country's main export.
Net foreign direct investment in Ukraine fell 29.4 percent
in January-September 2012 to $2.6 billion, according to official
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Ron Askew)