Council of Churches issued the Address to Ukrainian People and Authorities on Socio-Economic Issues

17 April, 15:46
Council of Churches issued the Address to Ukrainian People and Authorities on Socio-Economic Issues - фото 1
On April 16, 2024, the Council of Christian Churches of Ukraine convened to deliberate and endorse an Appeal addressing socio-economic concerns to the Ukrainian people and authorities.

This was reported by the IRS.

The initiative for such an appeal emerged on February 20 at the meeting of Church Leaders following discussions on the state of entrepreneurial freedom in Ukraine during martial law and the importance of state support for the economy as a whole and domestic businesses, particularly during wartime and in the context of post-war reconstruction in Ukraine.

The appeal essentially serves as a programmatic document of the Council of Churches in the specified sphere. The full text of the Appeal is provided below:

Appeal of the Council of Christian Churches of Ukraine to the People and Government Regarding Socio-Economic Issues

Thanks to the Lord, His unfathomable Providence, and our glorious ancestors, we, the nowadays citizens of Ukraine, have inherited and possess a wonderful land, filled with countless riches, situated in a marvelous place on the globe.

Over a thousand years ago, the Lord Himself came to our ancestors in faith in the Triune God and formed a conscientious people, faithful to His commandments in their daily lives, hardworking and honest. The gifts we have received are not merely pleasant bonuses for a carefree living but, above all, a challenge of responsibility and a test for the blessings entrusted to us, for which we will be accountable before God, our own conscience, and future generations. Therefore, the matter of proper stewardship and administration for the multiplication of the common good is perennially important in our societal and personal lives.

Our heroic defenders, with weapons in hand, at the cost of spilt blood and their own lives, accompanied by sacrificial and solidary support of the entire Ukrainian people, restrain the fierce enemy, defending our age-old spiritual and material values. Honor, praise, and recognition to all involved throughout the ages!

An integral part of this noble national effort to triumph over the fierce enemy is the wise and efficient conduct of state governance. We have all the necessary prerequisites for this:

- favorable geographical location and climatic conditions;

- highly qualified workforce and natural resources;

- simplified tax system;

- relatively straightforward business registration procedures and low operating costs.

These advantages can be attractive to entrepreneurs and investors and create favorable conditions for business development, especially in sectors such as agriculture, alternative energy, information technology, infrastructure, and manufacturing. These are the strong aspects of the economic dimension of our existence that we must not neglect in order to avoid losing the benefits of sustainable development. Let us also not forget about military production and the entire defense sector, which naturally must be dominant in wartime and which the entire state organism must work together harmoniously. After all, the state of the defense sector is of vital importance for the Ukrainian state and its people.

It is the obligation of Ukrainian society, and primarily the government, to utilize these opportunities and assets for the multiplication of the common good. Unfortunately, we do not always see the authorities' concern for the common good; rather, we often experience the desires and activities of officials aimed at personal gain.

In the sphere of business conduct, a significant number of unresolved issues have accumulated, which complicate and sometimes make unbearable, the lives of entrepreneurs. Among this mass of difficulties, the following are highlighted below, requiring immediate attention and urgent resolution:

Corruption. As we have repeatedly emphasized, it is a corrosion that can destroy the state mechanism and ruin society. Therefore, we must ruthlessly fight those who are carriers of corruption and spread it. There is no place for such individuals in the system of state administration. For the survival of our State and Ukraine's integration into the circle of free and democratic states, we must cultivate in ourselves and in our close ones an absolute rejection of corruption in any of its forms and strive for fair and irreversible punishment for all corrupt individuals because they destroy us today and steal our better future and the tomorrow of our children. This is especially relevant for today's difficult times of wartime hardship. Therefore, we ask the government to fully ensure the independence of anti-corruption bodies and to provide all possible support for their noble activities. Always remember: what is stolen NEVER brings happiness!

War and danger. Military aggression and warfare affect all sectors of the economy, forcing businesses to relocate to safer regions to preserve jobs and sustain the economy through taxes and donations.

Imperfect legislation. Ineffective and often changing legislation complicates business operations. This issue should be addressed by properly preparing draft regulatory acts with the involvement of a wide range of experts and entrepreneurs.

Flawed judicial system. Despite significant progress made by the state in reforming the judiciary, businesses still view litigation with caution. The lack of trust is due to the fact that final judicial decisions often take years, and the outcome of the case can be unpredictable. Moreover, winning a case in court does not bring any benefit when state institutions may ignore it and not enforce it. This situation pushes entrepreneurs to compromise with their conscience.

Bureaucracy. Licensing, registration, and certification processes are often complex and time-consuming due to bureaucratic hurdles. To address this difficult problem, requirements for conducting business, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, should be minimized, and the frequency of fiscal inspections, which entrepreneurs claim simply obstruct their activities with unjustified fines and threats, should be minimized. This is unacceptable at a time when all economic resources must work as efficiently as possible to defeat the enemy.

Shadow economy. A large volume of the shadow economy affects the competitiveness of the official business sector. Without the active engagement of the state mechanism and the establishment of favorable conditions for conducting legal business without excessive regulation, tax pressure, and fiscal authorities' arbitrariness, this problem cannot be resolved.

Decreased purchasing power. The direct consequence of many Ukrainians leaving the country is a decrease in purchasing power and revenue. Overcoming this problem is possible through business transformation, seeking new markets, and dumping to support capital turnover.

Limited access to financial resources and loans. Many entrepreneurs face difficulties in finding capital to develop their businesses. State financial efforts can and should help enterprising individuals establish their businesses because it is the most effective state investment. Relevant state bodies can also organize the search for alternative sources of funding and attract investments.

In addition to the challenges mentioned, a low business culture and legal awareness significantly affect the business climate, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts in business relations both among entrepreneurs and between entrepreneurs and the state. This deficiency can only be corrected through responsible leadership, personal self-improvement, increased personal morality, and legal culture. No one has the right to resign from this obligation established by the Almighty God and society.

These problems require a comprehensive approach that includes an effective fight against corruption, reform of the judiciary system, ensuring a level playing field for all market players, improving the legal framework, developing infrastructure and supporting innovation, as well as predictability and consistency in government actions. The latter is especially relevant at the present time, as it is almost impossible to adapt the economy to the challenges of wartime under the conditions of constantly changing, often illogical government initiatives that are adopted without appropriate consultations with the real economy.

We are blessed to be the descendants of a great nation that has always been characterized by hard work, conscience, honesty, and loyalty to God's commandments. These values are the foundation of our national identity and spirituality, which we must pass on to the next generations.

Our nation's loyalty to God's commandments stems from the provisions of the Basic Law - the Constitution of Ukraine, which was adopted with the awareness of responsibility to God, our own conscience, to previous, present and future generations.

Today, when our enemies seek to deprive us of our freedom and identity, we must stand strong and united, supporting our defenders who sacrifice their lives for our future. We express our deepest gratitude and respect to everyone who defends our homeland.

At the same time, we call for wise, efficient and responsible management of our resources. Ukraine has all the necessary prerequisites for becoming prosperous: a strategic geographical location, a skilled workforce, and rich natural resources. It is our duty to use these benefits wisely and responsibly.

Just as we ask the state to govern responsibly, we call on the business community to adhere to high standards of morality and ethics and to act according to conscience even when the law does not contain restrictions.

We ask business representatives and state and local authorities to join the conscious signing and conscientious observance of the Declaration of Good Business Conduct and the Declaration of Fair and Reasonable Administration, which were prepared by the Business Ombudsman Council of Ukraine based on its own long-term experience and best international comparative practices.

We call on every citizen and the authorities to abandon negligence and politicking and work together to strengthen our country, preserve our culture and faith, accelerate the Victory over the aggressor and build a peaceful and just society. May God's blessing accompany us in this mission.



April 16 in the year of our Lord 2024