Oleksandr Klymenko: Donbas should be invested not by funds, but by opportunities
There is an open question – how long will last truce, which was established in Donbas. However, another and question immediately arises, namely: «What to do with the region in the future?».
In particular, which expenses will be used for restoring. The former Minister knows, where to get the money.
Our fate is being decided without us
– Olexander Viktorovich, is it true, that you are applying for Kazakhstan nationality? Where do you live now?
– I have always been and I remain a Ukrainian citizen. It is the only truth. I do not live in Kazakhstan. Moreover, I have never even been there. I live in Ukraine, at least in my soul. That is why our conversation is happening. I do not tell about my physical location due to various considerations, primarily for reasons of safety of my family.
– Do you keep an eye on the events in the East of Ukraine?
– Of course! I am really worried. Without exaggeration, every projectile in this war is flying though me. It destroys all that is close to me and that I love and know from my childhood. Plethora people feel the same about the region. Especially due to the fact that all these terrible events happened after we all, residents of the region, have been acting constructively, trying to multiply the prosperity of Donbas. Nowadays, people have to go away, to leave their homes because of circumstances beyond their control.
– In Ukraine there are different opinions about who is guilty in the conflict, how to overcome it, whether or not the federation is needed and at whose expense to restore the region’s economy. What do you think about it?
– Nowadays, in small Donbas, interests of the two great countries have been clashed. Ordinary people of the region have become unwitting hostages of global tectonic geopolitical shifts. Therefore, I think the only way for Donbas – is a search for a high political solution. Ukrainian Government is not able to resolve this conflict on its own – unfortunately, our fate is being determined without us. And no matter how cruel it may sound, no one takes into account the fates of ordinary Ukrainians, their lives. It is grievously to the bottom of a heart…
The only thing that Ukrainian authorities can do today is to begin to restore everything that had been lost and destroyed. Restore the faith in future of Donetsk region residents, bring back the youth and the staff in the region.
Thus, it is necessary to do after a bilateral ceasefire and concrete results of negotiations! It is not important what form of the partnership will be with Donbas – whether it is a federation, a confederation, even an inter-galactic union!
I believe that devolution of a part of responsibilities from the center to the regions is not the worst way. When a person has a big Motherland – Ukraine, and a small one – Donbas, he or she understands that he is working for the benefit of his land, his children, people that live next door, in the neighborhood… Is it so bad?
We do not need money from Kiev
– Do you really think that as soon as military actions are over, Ukraine will start restoring Donbas? There is no money…
– The financial status of the state is really lamentable. Corruption has not disappeared. That is why, I think, the main thing about Donbas restoration is to refuse from direct budgetary infusions. Significant portion of money will be plundered even on the way from Kiev to Donetsk.
Instead of the money, I think, it is necessary to give opportunities to the region. For instance, to introduce the most comfortable conditions – first for Ukrainian entrepreneurs, investors who are going to invest in the restoration of the province. And then – for international investors too. This is important!
There is a lot of mechanisms – from tax holidays to the simplified procedure of business registration and cancellation of war-time penalties. Such approach will help to overcome unemployment, restore the banking system, to stop “St. Vitus’s dance”, which dollar demonstrates in recent months. Then, it will help to rebuild the infrastructure, to enable people to live a normal life, to plan their future, to send their children to schools.
– And how can we stop unemployment after the end of the war? Most of the factories and mines are stopped because of attacks, and their number is constantly growing…
– In order to overcome the unemployment, it is necessary not just the resumption of large-scale enterprises’, but building a brand new economy of the region, development of private initiative. Small and medium-sized business should become the foundation for it. Local entrepreneurs should return to the region. I am sure, these people – are patriots of their native land, and they want to develop their business there. The main task of the government – is to create appropriate conditions for them.
Donbas– is specific region
– Your words sound like a pre-election rhetoric. Are you going to participate in early parliamentary elections?
– I’m not going to run for a seat in Verkhovna Rada, although I could have. I’m not chasing after posts and power; I am ready to be useful to my country and the region, but… Not in this Verkhovna Rada! Its membership – are people, who have different path from me and plethora Ukrainians.
I know how to yield a lot more benefit and I am already doing this today. We, together with my colleagues from the Ministry, with economic experts, with entrepreneurs of the region, who know firsthand of its peculiarities and problems, have already developed a stepwise plan for the restoration of Donbas. We are ready to present our vision to the Government (if it’s interesting to the Cabinet of Ministers).
In any case, Donbas and its residents – is a specific region. It is necessary to understand its needs and mentality to put everything on constructive rails. This is the only way we can prevent a recurrence of these tragic events in the future.
– Nowadays, plethora people are criticizing new Ukrainian authorities. Prices are rising, war, reforms – are the fiction. How do you think, is this a problem of the current team or is this an impact of the predecessors’ heritage? You, for instance, do you feel guilt for what is happening now?
– I blame myself for not having had time to follow through previously initiated reforms to the end. The reform package, which was prepared by my team in the Ministry, was devoted to create a tax system, invulnerable to human factor and, accordingly, to corruption, namely, independent of the names of ministers and heads of departments. We did not have time to do this.
I am happy that many of our developments, namely, reduction in the number of taxes, single window for electronic reporting, rapprochement of tax reporting and accounting etc. It has been implemented by the new Government.
For me it does not matter, whether I did it, or those, who have come after me. The main thing is that it was done for the benefit of taxpayers, business. Nowadays, plethora opportunities, which could bring the country out of crisis, are being missed. Instead of it, there are really ineffective decisions that place a heavy burden on the shoulders of the population.
A simple instance: instead of implementation of the transfer pricing mechanisms in order to control the withdrawal of capital into offshore by large business, a “war” tax has been imposed on ordinary citizens. Anticipated revenues from them are incomparable. This is, at least, unfair.
Link to source: AiF