Magonova and Partners

Business and government: How to build a constructive dialogue

Business and government: How to build a constructive dialogue

In the column for "Ukrainian Truth" Anastasia Magonova  spoke about the major task of the Office of Effective Interaction: benefits for business, as well as building a constructive dialogue:

Improved synergies of government, business, experts on economic, corporate and social reforms, support for entrepreneurship and increasing the investment attractiveness of Ukraine must be priorities on the agenda of both business associations and government agencies.

As part of my work, I see business associations stop talking about the common things, but by giving some particular examples, they offer suggestions to government agencies that enable economic entities to defend their legitimate interests.

Government agencies, for their part, have begun holding competitions for such positions as a business relations manager, a design analyst who creates information digests in the exchange of information between authorities and business, an investment advisor, etc.

There is now a trend to create entire offices for interaction with business and to assist entrepreneurs, and it shapes the basis of many communication policy strategies.

The Office for Effective Interaction with Business has been established and is attached to the State Fiscal Service. It is quite a positive signal for the market, considering that law enforcement agencies had been only associated with total lawlessness for twenty years, and certainly not with a dialogue.

The major goal of the Office is to serve as a bridge between legitimate business and the Fiscal Service for a common purpose, which is the fight against the shadow market of the economy.

How can the Office for Interaction help out the business?

  • One of its objectives is to develop initiatives and improve cooperation between law enforcement agencies and legitimate businesses.

For instance, you are a member of a business association or a union of entrepreneurs. There is no need to either be in any bureaucratic agony or send one-way letters to meet the Head of the State Fiscal Service.

To top it off, one doesn’t have to have acquaintances or godfathers to learn about the Service's work or report the corruption. You can call any specified phone number or write an e-mail, and the Office will contact you within 72 hours.

  • The second objective of the Office is information exchange. Each large company has its security service, which has analytics showing the state of the shadow economy in their sector.

Legitimate businesses won't profit from the illegal market because it dumps prices while undermining the foundations of fair competition across the market. Security services can share information with a law enforcement body.

The SFS, in turn, begins to carry out procedural actions and then submits analytics on the work done and responds to corruption in the system.

  • The third objective of the Office is strategic communications.

Such an operative dialogue should shape the basis of the concept of a new body, the Bureau of Economic Security.  In the other case, we run the risk of getting one more force who are fighting windmills, persecuting business and aren’t not helping the economy.

To take another example: the State Property Fund (the SPF) used to be the oligarchy food feeder.
"Fellas" took on their "fellas" to manage and control large state facilities, pouring money to the right pockets and parties. The main aim of the structure has been to attract investment to Ukraine since 2019.
Business associations can contact the Fund to get information about objects available for privatization, their condition, and request sites visit.

An entrepreneur can take a piece of advice about the investment and participation rules in Prozzoro tenders. This is a vast opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Previously, buying or renting any state property had required getting a Soviet-style newspaper with a million small lines. They had only the names of objects, without any characteristics and labelling.
Plainly, ordinary people have no time to fight bureaucratic trash, and that’s the reason why good privatization objects were easily given to their people at virtually no cost and in a corrupt way.

Everything is much easier today; the SPF has launched a website, a kind of state OLX.
Go to the website, choose a category, a city, look at an object, download all information about it, go to the Prozzoro website and participate in an auction, voila. You are a happy owner of state property.
Do the same even if you want to rent property, it's not a problem.

As we have seen, the idea of investments and dialogues has shaped the entire information agenda of Ukraine for the last 2 years. Politicians’ cool head and time are needed to make it work.

I see some encouraging developments in this direction. Before a communications consultant in government agencies had to pay for a magazine cover with a fair-faced CEO, now the work of a communications specialist includes several areas: PR (Public Relations), GR (Government Relations), IR (Investor Relations).