Oleksandr Viktorovych Klymenko, Minister of Revenues and Duties, discusses his priorities for this recently formed ministry.
European Times: What is the mission of the Ministry of Revenues and Duties?
Oleksandr Klymenko: This ministry was created to serve as an effective taxation and collection administrator as part of the government’s effort to improve Ukraine’s business climate. Our mission is to bring taxation and customs-duties processes up to a whole new level of quality.
European Times: What are some of your major projects so far?
Oleksandr Klymenko: One of the important reforms we have completed is the one that allowed us to establish shared responsibilities with the Ministry of Finance, which handles overall budget planning while the Ministry of Revenues and Fees handles administration, services and supplying revenues for the state budget, with a focus on services.
The second major initiative was an analysis of all tax-collection processes, which revealed many problems which needed to be dealt with. We formed a partnership with leading consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers to improve the effectiveness of our tax collection. We put the emphasis on service and informed all players of our new priorities. We have successfully made the transition from fiscal body to a service-oriented organisation, in line with the European trend.
European Times: What changes have you made in the tax-collection system?
Oleksandr Klymenko: We are simplifying reporting and administration, streamlining the tax-collection process, moving towards harmonisation of tax and customs, and stepping up the fight against corruption. We instituted electronic tax payments, and now 98% of payments are made electronically compared to 39% in 2011. We have also opened 476 service centres around the country and last year we opened a centralised office for tax-payment support for major players. Thanks to reforms like these, Ukraine has managed to raise its position in the World Bank’s Paying Taxes report, a component of the Bank’s Doing Business Report, by 18 points. My goal is for Ukraine to be one of the top 100 countries in this ranking two years from now.
European Times: What is your personal message to potential investors in Ukraine?
Oleksandr Klymenko: Ukraine is strategically placed to join East and West, and this country is changing rapidly for the better. All the improvements we are making are bringing Ukraine even closer to the EU. I welcome all investors to come here and see Ukraine’s potential for themselves. They will always find a reliable partner in the Ministry of Revenues and Duties.