Consideration of Ukraine's economic recovery, both during wartime and postwar, is a current priority, which necessitates discussions on ways to finance Ukraine's postwar recovery, ways to obtain these funds, and successful global cases that have been used in other countries.
A prerequisite for economic development is to increase investment activity, investment resources and to use them efficiently.
Investment activity, as well as a set of practical actions to realize investments, is one of the main means of national income growth. All this necessitates the development of the country's investment sector.
Today in Ukraine, the investment activity of domestic and foreign investors is largely restrained by the unfavorable investment climate, which is the result of a number of external and internal factors, namely
· The reduced financial capacity of budgets at all levels among business entities and the population;
· An imperfect legislative and regulatory framework;
· The absence of a system of investor risk insurance;
· The unstable geopolitical situation and other challenges faced by the state at war.
One of the important steps to restore economic stability in our country is to attract private investment, including foreign investment, before the end of the war.
In order to improve the investment climate in Ukraine, both now and after the war, a team from the Office of the President and the Government has developed an economic recovery plan, which was presented to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Economic Development.
Government representatives regularly meet with the world's largest investment companies to discuss issues to attract investment and to create a favorable business environment, as well as the creation of the Ukraine Development Fund.
On May 5, President Zelenskyy met with a delegation from BlackRock, the world's largest asset management company, to discuss the creation of an investment fund to restore Ukraine's economy using both public and private capital.
As a result of the meeting, the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine signed an agreement with BlackRock Financial Market Advisory to provide support services to the Ukrainian Development Fund (UDF) and appointed BlackRock's Financial Markets Advisory Group to provide pro bono advisory services to help design the UDF. This reflects the continued partnership between BlackRock and the Government of Ukraine following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU") in November 2022.
On May 6, the Cabinet of Ministers announced plans to launch the UDF to attract and mobilize public and private funds to rebuild Ukraine. The UDF will focus on key sectors of the Ukrainian economy, including energy, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and, especially, IT. The Fund will support Ukraine's efforts to rebuild its economy in accordance with best practice and become a key partner of the global community in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
The launch of the fund is a powerful tool that will strengthen the investment climate in Ukraine. It will help to raise capital and start active economic recovery and construction of new businesses, immediately after the end of active hostilities and support existing businesses in Ukraine.
Today, businesses, both small and large, are supporting Ukraine by fighting on the economic front, to keep the economy at a decent level, and therefore the state should, in turn, promote business development and support it in the extremely difficult conditions that will continue after Ukraine's victory.
Ukraine has gained strong investment potential in recent years, and therefore will be able to offer investors, including foreign ones, powerful projects for investment in energy, security, agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, healthcare, IT, and many other sectors.
To ensure the transparency and success of the project, Ukraine engages the best financial and consulting organizations in the world: BlackRock, JP Morgan, McKinsey, and others, who will advise the government and provide support for the creation and launch of the Ukraine Development Fund.
The large-scale post-war reconstruction project will not only drive Ukraine's rapid growth, but also provide a new impetus to the European economy. Ukraine should focus on promoting investment and economic growth as investment insurance against non-commercial risks, such as expropriation, war and civil unrest.
Due to military operations, there is an objective need to protect investors from potential risks and losses, to create a stable and secure investment environment based on international experience, which will ultimately benefit the country's economic development as a whole.
Risk insurance mechanisms will help to attract foreign investors to the Ukrainian economy without waiting for the end of the war. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has registered Draft Law No. 9015, relating to the insurance of investments in Ukraine against war risks, which is an important strategic step.
To insure investments against war risks, Ukraine cooperates, in particular, with the World Bank’s MIGA agency and the American DFC agency. As part of the pilot project, MIGA has already completed three cases and made insurance offers to companies.
How does the legislative front work in favor of the Ukrainian economy?
Ukraine's investment legislation needs to be harmonized with EU legislation, as Ukraine has been granted EU candidate status and is seeking to join the European family as soon as possible.
As part of its legislative activities, the state should take concrete steps to improve the business climate and attract global investors.
On April 10, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the first reading of a draft law "On State Support of Investment Projects with Significant Investments in Ukraine" (registration number 8138), which provides for: reducing the minimum required amount of significant investments from 20 to 12 million euros; reducing the minimum required creation of new jobs (from 80 to 50); the possibility for an applicant and an investor with significant investments to be one legal entity. In addition, it is possible to include fees for connecting to electricity, gas, etc. to reflect the volume of significant investments.
How can the rights and interests of investors in Ukraine be protected promptly and professionally?
The procedure for attracting investors and their protection should be transparent to avoid litigation. Real and potential investors, including foreign ones, should have confidence in the security of their investments.
One of the top areas where foreigners in Ukraine are particularly investing is the IT sector. The main comments and complaints of investors in this area are, in particular, lengthy proceedings by national courts and difficulty in enforcing court decisions.
Currently, legislative models for improving the judicial system and strategies for protecting investors' rights are being discussed to improve the investment climate, which will help restore the country's financial stability.
Today, the legislator already has a model for the creation of the High Court of Intellectual Property, as developed in 2017, but its form needs to be discussed in more detail and modernized in line with challenges in the economy.
Various models for improving the judicial system are proposed to facilitate the quick and efficient resolution of commercial disputes, including the models of the High Court for Intellectual Property, a separate investment court, or the creation of specialized chambers in existing commercial courts.
The main advantages of an improved national model of the judicial system in the commercial sphere will be the involvement of judges with deep knowledge of intellectual property and investment, and an understanding of antitrust law, finance, and economics. Each of these models deserves attention and requires detailed professional discussion with the legal and judicial communities, business, and national and international experts in the relevant field.
Several factors need to be in place simultaneously for the effective implementation of ways to protect investors' rights and interests:
· Significant reduction of the timeframe for consideration of cases, including through the implementation of the institute of judicial experts in national legislation;
· Judges who are experts in the relevant field;
· A simplified system of access for investors, including foreign investors, to protect their violated and legally protected rights.
When considering each of the models, the legislature and judicial governance bodies will need to address a number of critical issues, including financial, logistical and human resources. Investors want comprehensive protection of their rights in one institution. And we have to provide it.
We do not have time for mistakes and their endless correction, so the country must choose the best model that will meet international standards and satisfy the interests of the state and the business community.
Currently, the state is implementing a set of measures to introduce modern electronic communications technologies in the judiciary.
Thus, it can be concluded that the current investment climate in Ukraine is affected by a number of negative factors that make it unattractive to investors. At the same time, there are a number of positive prospects for development, the implementation of which will help to significantly improve the situation.
Thus, the main task now is to minimize the impact of negative factors, which are primarily of a legal, political, social and economic nature. The investment challenge facing Ukraine in the coming years will be enormous. Only through close cooperation of public and private capital will we be able to solve the problem of necessary financing.
Oksana Blazhivska is a Judge and Member of Ukraine’s High Council of Justice
The views expressed in this opinion article are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.
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