Oleksandr Klymenko, 34, is considered by many to be the financial wunderkind of the economy of Ukraine. Despite his relative youth, Klymenko, who holds a doctoral degree in finance, was able to introduce reform and transparency to virtually every level of the Ukrainian tax, duties and customs system despite the barriers of conservatism and self-interest he had to fight along the way.

In particular, Oleksandr Klymenko’s tenure as Minister of Revenue and Duties in the previous government was marked by a consistent integration of the Ukrainian tax system with European Union members, motivated by the explicit goal of attracting significant foreign investment into the economy.

Foreign Investment vs Raising Local Taxes

Oleksandr Klymenko’s reasoning, as expressed in key international meetings and seminars in which he took part in his governmental capacity, was foreign investment brings with it more jobs which, in turn, meant more incomes to tax and thereby would lead Ukraine’s government toward balancing its budget without having to raise local taxes and to provide the government the fiscal means to promote local entrepreneurship.
Oleksandr Klymenko was born on November 16, 1980 in the industrial city of Makiivka in the eastern Ukraine, some 25 kilometers northwest of the regional capital, Donetsk.

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Innovations vs Beauracracy

After making his mark as a reformer who had effectively managed to bring order to the Regional tax system, Oleksandr Klymenko was appointed Head of the State Tax Administration of the Donetsk Region on September 24, 2010, at the age of 30. During Klymenko’s tenure in that position, the reforms he instituted resulted in record high monthly tax collections over 2010-2011.
Within months of Klymenko’s appointment, his outstanding performance in the tax sector of the Donetsk region was recognized by the Ukrainian authorities in the national capital,

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Engaging Kids and Impressing the World Bank

At Klymenko’s initiative in 2011, an animated cartoon series, “City of Dreams,” was produced [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON1nlmelSsA]. The programming was aimed at teaching children the importance of taxes being paid and how these funds were used for the benefit of the community. Klymenko believed that tax morality and good citizenship were core values that needed to be embedded within society from an early age – if it were to truly change for the better.
Under Klymenko’s administration, great strides were made in electronically streamlining the tax system and managing the social unified tax (STU). Tremendous progress was achieved in transitioning increasing numbers of Ukrainian STU payers to an electronic platform.

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Positioning Ukraine as a Bridge Between Russia and EU

Later in 2013, Klymenko established the Monitoring Center which provided the Ministry with a powerful analytical tool and informational support platform based on the latest IT developments. Its intent was to increase tax efficiency while allowing for maximum exposure and transparency. The Monitoring Center was implemented to combat tax fraud and tax evasion schemes. The Center’s success is evidenced by a sharp increase in VAT collection into the Ukrainian Treasury.
Klymenko strongly believed that if the public was aware of where their taxes were going, they would more willingly pay them.

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Moving Forward – Overcoming the Crisis

In April 2013, Klymenko solidified the steps he had taken in a meeting with Mark Pieth, President of the Basel Institute on Governance and head of the OECD working group on international corruption, and was awarded acceptance for meeting European standards on this complex issue.
Later in 2013, in June, Klymenko clearly stated his view on the “Action Plan for the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU” at a press conference at the Brussels Press Club where he assured the media in attendance that “the Ukrainian Government would do everything possible to make trade relations between Ukraine and the EU comfortable, simple and understandable for both sides in terms of customs support.”

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