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Zelenskyy: Over half of Ukrainian alcohol industry within shadow

01.11.2019 21:14 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) As of today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a working trip to Ternopil region, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Press Office reports. As to the report, while on a trip, Zelenskyy participated a working meeting on the development of the Ukrainian alcohol industry. While speaking within the meeting, the President admitted 55% of the Ukrainian alcohol total output is within the shadow now, with State-owned alcohol plants having been controlled by criminal groups for over 10years. The President cited the example that today the so-called Tetra Pak of 10liters of wheat vodka could be freely purchased online as much as UAH370. «That means a bottle will cost somewhere between 15–18hryvnias. And we buy in the store for 90–100hryvnias. There are shadow businesses. But how do they work, who covers them?» Zelenskyy noted. As to the report, while speaking within the meeting, Deputy Head of the President OfficeYuliya Kovaliv noted that since 2016the financial result of Ukrspyrt had declined by almost five times. As to her, as of 2016, the company profit was about UAH97million, but now it has dropped almost to zero. Hence, the situation with the payment of taxes is also critical: three years ago, the monopolist Ukrspyrt paid to the budget almost UAH30million of income tax, last year, however, it paid nothing at all. «Due to the illegal alcohol market, the State and local budgets lose UAH8millaird annually. And these are the problems with the payment of wages, the construction of roads, the development of infrastructure,» Kovaliv stressed. In meanwhile, President and Government have developed a set of measures to fight the illegal alcohol output. Thus, Zelenskyy has already submitted a bill liberalizing the activity within the ethanol production sphere. This document provides for a licensing mechanism and the production of alcohol only with a license starting from 2020. «We are eliminating the foundation for the existence of this corrupt criminal system. And if the producer is caught producing „illegal“ alcohol, he will be deprived of the license and the right to produce alcohol for at least five years. I think this is fair. There can be no other way. We are ready for this. The government is getting ready. Fair competition, fair licenses,» the President stressed. It is to be admitted, the presidential bill envisages four steps: abolishing the State monopoly on alcohol output from Jan 1, 2020, abolishing restrictions on the construction of alcohol plants and privatization of the existing ones, licensing the output and wholesale of alcohol, limiting the import of alcohol until Jan 1, 2022.

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