Oksana Prodan: The Party in Power is Afraid of Us, because We Were Behind the “Tax Maidan”

26.09.2012 16:36

During her working visit to Cherkassy, Oksana Prodan met with students and entrepreneurs to talk about the working and legal environment for small and medium-sized businesses.

Oksana Prodan is known not only as a social activist and Head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses “Fortress”; she also basically led the “Tax Maidan” of 2010 (mass protests against the new tax code), and managed to uphold the simplified tax system, as well as to combine and lobby various amendments to the Tax Code.

Now, Oksana Prodan is #4 on the party list of the “UDAR” Party of Vitaliy Klychko”. During her meeting with residents of Cherkassy, she presented a new, so-called “perfect” model of doing business, which was developed by the entrepreneurs of Ukraine and approved at the Second Assembly of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine in May 2012. According to Prodan, all political forces have already adopted it and incorporated certain elements of the model into their election platforms.

She declared, “All parties shared our vision, but only “UDAR” said “join us and do it!” Only Vitaliy Klychko’s party offered me the opportunity to protect the interests of entrepreneurs in the Verkhovna Rada personally. This is why I’m in “UDAR” today.”

According to Oksana Prodan, the key goal for political forces, which aim to become part of the government, should be fighting corruption on all levels. The first step in this process is a law that would abolish official information inquiries.

Oksana announced, “Official inquiries in Ukraine were invented by officials to earn extra money off the citizens. How come a retired person, in order to receive state pension, has to present official inquiries from the militia and housing and utilities office? The officials already have all the information they request, but send the people to each other for inquiries because we have to pay for them. This needs to stop – the government already knows everything about us without this ridiculous process.”

According to the head of the Entrepreneur Union, we should discard the current Tax Code as junk and carry out a real tax reform, one that is not formal and only aimed at collecting certain taxes from some entrepreneurs. She emphasized, “One cannot turn a “Zaporozhets” into a “Mercedes”, just like we can’t make a good Tax Code out of what we have on the books”.

She also claimed that “UDAR”, once in the Parliament, will fight for abolishing the so-called “liability without fault”, whereby an entrepreneur has to pay fines for filling out declarations incorrectly – declarations purposefully complicated by the bureaucrats.

Prodan noted, “The payer of a tax, duty or universal social contribution should be required only to pay the sum in full. He should not be required to fill out needlessly complicated declarations. Currently, the officials make extra money off of this process, which makes doing business significantly more difficult.”

Introduction of a single list of requirements for entrepreneurs would significantly simplify the process of legal control of small and medium-sized businesses. At the same time, such a list would give the businessmen a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities, not to mention make them feel more informed and protected.

According to Oksana Prodan, her “perfect” model of business is a collection of simple concepts. However, they require the government to change the system from the ground up. Prodan’s model requires a reform of the judicial system in order to work. For example, she would like to see a system where a judge, whose decision is overruled by a higher court, is required to leave his post. This would make the judges more wary of ruling contrary to the law. A similar system would work for officials and law enforcement; after all, economic problems spring up in places, where laws are disregarded.

Prodan noted, “In Europe, small and medium-sized businessmen are considered a “creative class”; after all, they are entrepreneurs who come up with all things new and worthwhile. Ukraine, on the other hand, leads an absurd but persistent war against small and medium-sized businesses. Nowadays, we work with monopolists. This includes large sectors of the economy like energy and transportation. These companies set their prices unilaterally. Smaller businesses are crowded out of the market and become uncompetitive and uninteresting to the consumers. Thus, if there are no small and medium-sized businesses, consumers will be unable to choose or influence the prices.

According to Prodan, small and medium-sized businesses are dangerous not only for monopolists, but also for the government elites. She explained, “We may have forgotten the Orange Revolution, but they still remember it and the fact that small and medium-sized businesses made it possible. Otherwise, why would the officials attempt to buy votes? They must be unsure of their victory, which means we should be confident in ours!”

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