The Odessa 1-Stop (Business Administration) Shop

Inevitably, unsurprisingly, and predictably - Odessa is to be the first Oblast to produce an effective, efficient,  bribe/corruption free 1 Stop Shop for business administration - or at least that is the plan.

The Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavel Petrenko, Head of Odessa Regional State Administration Mikheil Saakashvili, Mayor of Odessa Gennady Trukhanov and Victor Lyakh of the NGO “Shidna” signing a memorandum of understanding that will create this administrative node.

The centre, however, does not open until October - This, presumably for two reasons.

The first and most obvious reason, being political.  It seems likely to be timed immediately prior to the local elections for maximum electoral and business constituency voter effect.  “Delivering upon anti-corruption, reducing bureaucracy, promoting SMEs, “decentralisation”, customer service” and all that nice vote winning rhetoric will pour forth just prior to the local elections in late October.

No wonder Mayor Trukhanov is publicly “on-side” for this collaborative effort between City and Oblast.

The second reason for the delay in the birth of this administrative node however, being legislative.

There is no room for administrative maneuvering in the provinces without the centre passing laws to provide that room.  Therefore something so simple as putting all the business administrative organs under a single roof - or at least client facing administrators from all business administrative organs - under the same roof (time will tell).  This seemingly under the watchful public eye of “Shidna” NGO, the media, business people, entrepreneurs, and others.

This administrative node requires such “decentralising” legislation to be passed.  With constitutional amendments that would allow for such “decentralisation” being somewhat glacial, and with nobody really knowing what “decentralisation” will be precisely, October would seem to be the earliest realistic date.

Should such legislation not be passed, then the institutional mandarins will remain within their fortified, obstructive and insular institutions - for no laws will exist to allow them to mingle with the other relevant institutions for business administration under the same roof, or in the same room, and heaven forbid, as part of a functioning “real time” administrative process.

1 stop

How entirely un-Soviet!  How absurdly un-Ukrainian!  Spending days, weeks and months, going from one administrative building to another, and then another, and back again, and forth again, and around in circles for a while, is traditional - and the main source of low-level corruption within the State institutions where opportunity for graft knocks with every document in every institution.

Can it really come to pass that client facing functionaries will be allowed to be the keepers of the official stamp?   Moreover, can it be that not only will they be so empowered to be the keeper of the official stamp, but also the authorised signatory?  Is that possible?  Will it not overload the capacity of a lowly functionary?  Could there even be a few such lowly client facing functionaries to allow for lunch breaks, illness and holidays?  Can institutional chiefs become managers and no longer rulers zealously guarding the official stamps and leaving all dependent upon their signature?   Too much!

Lord!  What if e-governance and e-administration allows the hoi polloi to complete documents on-line, make and attend appointments to made the process even swifter!

The electorate could get carried away and start demanding entirely reasonable processes not only within business administration, but school registration, registration at a property, ID production and all sorts of sensible things.  It may begin to have “expectations” instead of frustrations!

However, we are currently only noting the signing of a memorandum - and which, with a fair wind, may actually lead to a centralised “something” by October.  Just what that “something” will turn out to be, and just how useful, remains to be seen.