Economy of Trust against corruption, – Sergiy Nizhynskyi

On April 2 we launched the premiere episode of our EoT interview show on WTC Kyiv Youtube-channel. Our first guest was Sergiy Nizhynskyi, a Ukrainian politician and a public figure. Sergiy developed The export strategy of Ukraine. While serving at the Ministry of Social policy he was responsible for international relations and European integration, anti-corruption activities,anti-trafficking and domestic violence. He is the author of a social project “Call-center 15-47” for victims of violence. He is an initiator of ratification of the Hague Convention on the rights of children. We bring you the best and brightest highlights of the interview. 

See the full version EoT interview show

About life in Ukraine 

Ukraine is a big challenge for every Ukrainian. This is a state of my soul, my desire to find myself in the country that has raised me; the country that has been waiting for progress for too long, considering the history of our parents and grandparents and their struggles, those whom we should seek to honor every day –deserve their grandkids to live in better economic conditions.

About corruption

Corruption has become a big scourge of Ukraine. Unfortunately, all the processes that begin in the economy lead to corruption. We are talking about the minimization of corruption risks because of digitalization of all public services. These steps must be taken to focus the economy on the economy—rather than to fight against corruption.

About The Economy of Trust

The first eye-raising thing for foreigners, businessmen or investors who come to Ukraine is the absence of strategy, no action plan. Where do we go from here? What do we do? What are our priorities? Dealing with government agencies an investor sees that everything is in priority, everything is important, but no one knows where to run, where to go. And thus Ukrainian export strategy was created first in 2016 with the help of our team. Furthermore, I would like to emphasize that among the 5 main areas included in the first Cabinet of the Minister’s strategy, economic development was the fundamental objective. Three main pillars an investor focuses on are digitalization, economic development and human capital and governance to understand the country priorities. When it comes to the Economy of Trust, this in particular is the understanding of priorities, business focus, interaction with the society as a whole and minimizing corruption. These steps will give confidence to an investor to make the decision to enter the country.

About the socially responsible business 

In fact, the socially active and responsible business is a very common phenomenon in USA, but it is just beginning to take shape in Ukraine; from where I am standing, it’s kind of a new and “undeveloped” type of business. And we as WTC Kyiv must focus on it and promote it. Ukraine has become a kind of hub that is like a sponge when it comes to something new and innovative, moreover, it produces its own innovations. When we get to meet with socially responsible businesses, a café, for instance, some other institutions, we see how successfully excellent and innovative solutions have been used. The East part of Ukraine is under martial law, and our country is currently going through a difficult time, but the Western part of Ukraine is really creative, and its magic symbiosis of patriotism, innovations and desire to grow and develop in the beloved country will save Ukraine and Ukrainian business. Of course social direction is key. We are aware that a lot of jobs are being created thanks to business.

About the export of services

We often talk about the export of goods but we don’t pay due attention to the export of services, but this is the core business. And now it has become a problem even in Kyiv to find a good plumber or an air conditioner repairman. To call that repairman costs 170-pound sterling in London. They are paid better than a lawyer in Kyiv in an average company. These are the areas we need to develop.

About European Integration 

Khmelnitskaya region, the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi is an excellent example of it. Its inhabitants were opting to work in more developed countries. A lot of foreign facilities have been launched recently, for instance, Italian or Austrian plants. We are only about 100 km to the border with Poland! I encourage us to layout the framework for where we want to go in increasing European integration.

About bringing ethnic Ukrainians back to Ukraine 

 A year ago, I was offered the position of Deputy Minister by the President. We had the interview together with Prime Minister Goncharuk, and the first question that I was asked was, “what must be done in order to bring ethnic Ukrainians back to Ukraine?”

I, as an immigration lawyer, understand the trends and what people are focused on. That’s why it’s important to implement 2 aspects: first- state- the implementation of many agreements, for instance, a person who has been working in USA, in Moldova or in Italy for 20 years, and who worked 7 years in Ukraine before the immigration, or vice versa, their work experience, whether abroad or in Ukraine is not counted. This is wrong. As we are a member of the International Labour Organization we have to sign a mutual recognition agreement on work experience. We have to work on insurance contributions. The same should be the interaction with countries where dual citizenship is permitted. The draft of law on dual citizenship is being considered by Verkhovna Rada. But I think it’s of secondary importance. Particular efforts must be made to support employment creation and as a result to see people making more money than abroad or at least not less revenue.

About bureaucratic procedures

We are talking about the certificate “ABOUT FOREIGN UKRAINIANS”. It is issued in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an easy formality for simplifying the bureaucratic procedures in the Migration service to get the permanent resident permit and to claim citizenship. And the existence of databases! And not searching through the archives where the documents are handwritten. Public service digitization is our top priority. The work on the DIYA application is a positive example. Many say in Switzerland, for instance, about the possible risks of violation of the GDPR (General Data Protection) Convention for the protection of personal data, on the one side. On the other side Ukraine has already begun to carry out the terms of the Convention

About call-center 15-47 project

I’m very proud of it. As a Deputy Minister, together with my team, we’ve done a tremendous amount of work in that field. The number of domestic violence incidents has increased over the past three to five years, for various reasons. Many recently returned war veterans are desperate, they are trauma sufferers. They find themselves out of work, they are also disappointed that there is no state protection, no social or financial support to move on. It has many consequences, from alcoholism to aggression. A great majority of requests that we received in the call-center were from this category of persons. Gender based violence continues to be an issue of serious concern and most often against women, but also violence against men representing 6 % and kids- 6 %. We should become a caring and responsible society that wants to work legally and get income in a bank account with the realization that working legally can contribute to the national budget.