Opened letter to Viktor Yuschenko, the President of Ukraine
The president of the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, the head chairman of the expert committee of Ukrainian National Council of culture and spirituality at the President’s Office
To the President of Ukraine,
Highly respected Viktor Andriyovich!
Ukrainian Association of book publishers and distributors addresses you with a question that needs your immediate personal intervention, because, as the experience shows, this problem can totally overcome your Decree “About some measures for development of book publishing business in Ukraine” (March 21, 2006) and lead to a serious crisis in one of the branches of publishing business – book trade, which is in very critical condition already.
The problem is article 138 of the ²² paragraph, “Incomes of the State Budget of Ukraine”, of the project of Law of Ukraine “About the State Budget of Ukraine for 2007”, that is published as follows:
“Article 138. To decree that in 2007 leasing of state and community property will be conducted only on competitive basis. Rent fees for state and community property will be established according to its market value in procedure prescribed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
To give Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine the right to approve indicative rates of rent fees for state and community property that is leasing in cities of regional importance and in cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol.
Contracts for rent of state and community property signed before January 1, 2007, except for contracts for rent of state and community property by budget organizations, are obligatory for reviewing in a 2-months period in accordance with prescribed norms”.
Since due to some circumstances for some state officials Ukrainian book is not anymore a “spiritual product”, but only a subject of materialistic manufacture, a decision can be made to give book stores selling mostly Ukrainian-manufactured books areas for rent on terms and conditions, similar to those that are prescribed for gambling establishments or for currency exchange bureaus.
Due to limited assortment base of Ukrainian bookstores (6 – 10 thousand titles) and their financial weakness, unlike supermarkets that sell mostly imported books (30 – 50 thousand titles), they are going to be unable to bare contest market rent fees and go bankrupt; this will lead to chain reaction – smaller Ukrainian publishing houses will then go bankrupt as well.
Above that, it is mentionable that existence of majority of state publishing houses with a 70-80-years history is going to be in danger. The thing is that most of them (except maybe 3 or 4) rent areas in buildings that are in state or community property. It is known today that many local leaders, In Ukraine in general and in Kyiv in particular, hastily develop new methods of renting fees calculation that will end the history of existence of many publishers in Ukraine.
This article of the project of Law of Ukraine needs separate formulation, which would allow regulating renting fee rates according to the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for juridical persons, that carry out works, give services or manufacture goods of social-humanitarian matter.
That is why we ask you to take this question under your personal control.
Besides, let us draw your attention to the fact that in project of “State program of social and economical development of Ukraine for 2007” in paragraph 2.2.4. “Cultural and informational policy” it is said:
“Support of national book publishing – develop the project of decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “About approval of Regulation of the State's order in book publishing sphere”, “About encouraging development of book publishing business in Ukraine” and the project of instructions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “About approval of system of measures for creating favorable conditions for development of native book publishing and distribution" – State Committee of television and radio broadcasting – until the end of the year.”
However, delay of approval of already prepared projects of decrees mentioned above for more than a year (they were delayed for two years already, to begin with) practically ruined all positive effect that could be done by the Law of Ukraine “About state support of publishing business in Ukraine”, that came into action on July 1, 2004, because the main purpose of these decrees was creation of mechanisms aimed at development of infrastructure of publishing business in our country. They have to come into action this year.
The president of the Ukrainian association
of book publishers and distributors,
the head chairman of the expert committee of
Ukrainian National Council of culture and spirituality
at the President’s Office Oleksandr Afonin