24 March 2014
Dmitry Firtash interview to Inter TV channel: “Businesses should lend their shoulder to Ukraine”
Dmitry Firtash, President of Federation of Employers of Ukraine, and Chairman of Group DF Supervisory Council, expressed his position concerning cooperation between businesses and the government, reconciliation within Ukrainian society, and the ways to respond to economic crisis in his exclusive interview to Inter TV channel.
Mr Firtash, the unstable situation in Ukraine has an immediate impact on the country’s economy. How, do you think, the economic situation can be stabilized?
Today, unfortunately, the politics and economy cannot be separated. Both are important. And actions of politicians will determine how the economy will develop going forward.
I believe the time has come when all ambitions should be put aside, and when everyone should cooperate to deal with the challenges that the country faces. And I don’t have a slightest doubt that together we will manage to go through this.
Today, we should not look for problems between us. We should not fight each other. The whole society should unite in dealing with this challenge. Politicians and businessmen, small and large businesses, should join their efforts. If we manage to reach reconciliation within the country, I am sure that we will manage to deal with economic issues as well. One is connected to the other.
Has the situation in Ukraine affected Group DF’s performance in any way?
I am sure that the Group has and will do everything possible to stabilize the situation in the country. You know that currently the Group has over 100,000 employees. We have presence in all regions of the country, including its Eastern and Western parts, and the Crimea. I believe that Group DF is the very company that accurately reflects the situation in the country.
I am convinced that we will take every effort to keep people getting their salaries and other benefits they should have. Our production companies will continue to work at their full capacities. You know that many of our producers are city-forming businesses, and living conditions in those cities rely upon the performance of Group DF’s companies. Today we are aware of this like never before, and we discuss the emerging issues to ensure that social packages are not reduced despite the challenging economic situation.
Do you plan to adjust investment programs?
All those investment programs that have been scheduled for 2014-2016 are being implemented in full scope. Today we have a rather good position, and we will continue development of our production companies.
Foreign investors watch closely how the situation develops in Ukraine. Do these developments concern you as a businessman?
In my soul I am inside Ukraine. My own background and the history of my business have shown that, wherever I earn money, I always spend it in Ukraine. I had various meetings with foreign investment bankers, and they always used to tell me that concentrating money in one country presented a risk for Group DF. And now they tell me they warned it was the wrong approach to invest all money into one country only. I do not think so. I think we do the right thing investing in Ukraine. Ukraine is not a risk for us. Ukraine is the country where we live. If it presents a risk to foreigners, I do not view Ukraine as a risk. We will do everything possible for Ukraine to be a powerful and strong state.
Do other Ukrainian businesses have a similar position?
In the Federation of Employers of Ukraine we are working on possible options of how we can help the budget and how we can help the army. We want to develop a proposal and submit it to the government for review.
I have a strong belief that businesses should lend their shoulder to the government and to the country. In the near future, the Federation of Employers of Ukraine and I personally will address Ukrainian businesses. We have to provide support to the budget and provide additional resources to the government to enable Ukraine to deal with its top priorities.