These include expanding logistics capabilities, currency liberalization, and transparent rules for booking workers.

Metinvest Group has named the most pressing problems for Ukrainian exports during the war. According to the company’s CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov, expanding logistics capabilities, currency liberalization and transparent rules for booking employees are important conditions for the development of export-oriented companies in the current environment. This was discussed at the Forbes Exporters Summit «Made in Ukraine».

The summit brought together 40 speakers from various business areas, including the iron and steel sector, as well as government officials. Firstly, Yuriy Ryzhenkov thanked everyone involved in the opening of the Ukrainian sea corridor.

«When we opened this temporary corridor, Metinvest’s products were carried by the first ships that followed those laden with agricultural goods. I am grateful to the defence forces, intelligence services and our partners who made this possible. This now opens new horizons for both the Group and the country as a whole, in 2024 and the coming years. However, this is just the beginning. We need to continue to work. The opening of the maritime corridor, thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainian authorities, has helped to increase exports, although some logistical difficulties remain,» emphasized Metinvest’s CEO.

He also added that the company has a clear development strategy and investment plans that will contribute to Ukraine’s post-war recovery.

According to Ryzhenkov, Ukrainian businesses need currency liberalization to improve the investment climate and continue investing in Ukraine. In addition, the current rules for mobilizing employees do not allow the group, which is one of the largest donors to the Ukrainian Defense Forces, to increase production.

«We are a transparent company. All our employees are registered with military enlistment offices and have undergone military medical examinations. We are the largest donor, and this limits our ability to ramp up production, which could support the economy. That is why we need more transparent draft deferral regulations from the government, which would stimulate business growth and not just an outflow of personnel to the defence forces,» Yuriy Ryzhenkov explained.

At the same time, according to Oleksandr Vodoviz, the head of Metinvest’s CEO’s office, the company’s No. 1 problem is a lack of staff. About 8,000 employees are currently mobilized to the Armed Forces.

«We would like the directors of enterprises deemed critical to have the right to defer, say, 10% of personnel from the draft independently. Instead of going through these ten circles of hell through the Ministry of Economy, the General Staff and 25 other institutions that coordinate all this. Then, each enterprise director could also determine who are the critical personnel,» Vodoviz adds.

He also noted that the company has programs in place to attract more women to historically male occupations. Women are already working as underground plant operators in mines.

«Although we are training women, this is challenging because the number of men who have gone to the front far exceeds the number of women we can train. The issue is the time needed for the training, which can take as long as several years,» comments the head of Metinvest’s general director’s office.

Metinvest implements programs for veterans aimed at retraining and providing legal, psychological and physical assistance to former military personnel. In addition, the company offers training at Metinvest Polytechnic University to demobilized employees. All seriously injured employees are also paid for treatment, and a prosthetics program is in place for those who lost limbs in the war.

Metinvest Group, including its associates and joint ventures, paid UAH 14.6 billion in taxes and fees to the budgets of all levels in Ukraine in 2023. The largest contributions included a single social contribution (SSC) of UAH 3.3 billion, income tax of UAH 3.2 billion and personal income tax of over UAH 3 billion.

As GMK Center reported earlier, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the company has allocated UAH 4.8 billion to help Ukraine and its citizens, including over UAH 2.5 billion for the army as part of the Steel Front military initiative.