Invited by the previous government in Ukraine Belarusian company, specializing in the construction of roads, faced with a systematic attempt to squeeze them from the Ukrainian market. In the course went the whole Arsenal of attack capacity until the abolition of tenders, from the delay of funding – up to searches of the SBU.

About the conditions in which operate enterprises of the state holding “Belavtodor”, and also about how the pressure of “outsiders” have been divided on the Ukrainian market may affect the relations of Belarus and Ukraine – read on.

At the invitation of President

In April 2017, the then current President of Ukraine during a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart invited Belarusian road company to participate in projects for the repair and reconstruction of Ukrainian roads. President Lukashenko took the invitation seriously and after a few months was created the Ukrainian-Belarusian company “Belavtodor-Ukraine”.

It would seem that personal invitation of the President of Ukraine should provide for Belarusians a good recommendation and to open doors for transparent and fair fight in the bidding. But not all Ukrainian companies have the willingness and desire for healthy competition.

The first tenders: no thanks

The first tender bids holding companies “Belavtodor” rejected. Often under the pretext of “lack of experience” Belarusian road-building trusts with more than 70 years of history, but more often for formal reasons, and even on the grounds that the non-resident company is not in the register of legal entities of Ukraine.

Dozens of complaints to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) submitted during the first months of the entrance to the Ukrainian market, the result had no effect: after AMC took the part of the Belarusians and acknowledged that to participate in tenders they do not allow for frivolous reasons, or confirmed the selective and biased approach to the evaluation of the bid – the auction was just cancelled.

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However, the persistence with which the “Belavtodor” again and again continued to knock on closed doors, eventually bore fruit: by the end of 2017, the year of the Road construction trust No. 4 (Brest), part of the holding, won its first tender for repair of Zhytomyr district roads for a total amount of about UAH 30 million, offering best price at auction.

And that was the beginning of the complications of life to those who do not want to see “dumping” of Belarusians have been divided on the Ukrainian market of road construction. After all, their proposals were often 5-15% below the minimum of the competitors ‘ offers.

The game is a “big”

In 2018, the “Belavtodor” for the first time, swung on a more serious tenders. For example, in the summer of 2018 another trust holding company Construction and mounting trust No. 8 (Minsk) – won the bidding for the repair of the section of the highway M-05 Kiev–Odessa Kiev region. The tender for UAH 840 million Belarusians took to perform over 695 million UAH

The company also received several large objects in the Nikolaev area. For work on these objects she brought to the region’s own asphalt plant, which allowed to perform work at competitive prices, efficiently and on time.

But competitors didn’t like it, and in February 2019, the asphalt plant Company # 8 was burned. Unknown entered the territory, knocked the security guard and set fire to the key components of the plant, without which it turns into a useless heap of metal.

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The incident immediately caught the Belarusian foreign Ministry has sent to the Ukrainian colleagues a note of protest. Law enforcement at first actively began to search for performers and customers of this crime. But very soon the activity had gone. And only raising the issue at the highest level, during the visit of the newly elected President Vladimir Zelensky to Nikolayevshchina, spurred law enforcement authorities to finally detain the perpetrators.

As one of the key versions of the crime investigation considers the order of competitors. But the announcement of the details the police have so far refrained. Not heard about the arrests of customers of an arson.

“There’s no money but you keep”

Not frightened of the fire and the losses caused to them Belarusians have decided to squeeze out of Ukraine in other ways.

“We in Ukraine, many are not happy. In each area already has major players who work not the first year in the region, have placed their factories and bases, established processes, built their dynasty. These companies believe in this or that region of his patrimony, so use all the tools and resources to prevent “outsiders”.

But it’s not so easy to fight, because the companies included in the holding “Belavtodor” foreign public company with a history of many years of experience, strong material-technical base (more than 3,5 thousand units of equipment) and highly qualified personnel. The total number of employees holding more than 9 thousand people.

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In addition, the system “Prozora” provides an excellent opportunity to participate in the competition for the contract, receiving in succession at the best price. The company’s policy is built on honesty and openness, the best price and quality works, we are talking about the image of the whole country”, – said the Director of “Belavtodor-Ukraine” Yuri Nastenko.

One of the main problems and risks faced by companies in Ukraine – the lack of real 100% of the financing and open information about the availability of money at a specific object, because the purchase announced without reference to funding that allows officials manual in order to set limits on the payments. Further, this leads either to the cancellation of the auction and signing of the contract after the victory, or to reduce the cost of the contract and volume of works, or delay of funding.

There are cases when after the signing of the contract and execution of works it was found out that the money is actually there, and you have to wait for the appropriate budget funding for compensation of incurred costs.

A very interesting situation with one of these objects happened recently: in the Kiev representation of one of the trusts with a search warrant came about 10 members of the national police and the security service. Base – Belarusians allegedly caused the state losses for UAH 18 million. As the company who performed the work at the best price, caused losses to the state, nobody really explains. But the fact that came with a search warrant, after customary investigation stage of seizure of documents, suggests: a main objective of arrival could be the intention to intimidate.

“Blockade” in Volyn

Another manifestation of ingenuity Ukrainian officials, blocking the “other” entrance to the market, the Belarusians faced in the Volyn region. So, in 2017 Road construction trust No. 4 (Brest) tried to bid on the construction of the road H-22 Ustyluh – Exactly, but the submitted proposal was rejected. The reasons for which rejected the proposals of Belarusians forced to file complaints to the AMC. Following the examination, the Committee recognized that the right of the trust to objective and impartial consideration to its bid, which was broken, in consequence of which several of these tenders have been cancelled by the customer.

In 2018, the Trust No. 4 signed several small contracts for the repair of the local road network. But after the company did not heed the insistent recommendations “not to meddle” in the already distributed of the tender and won the tender, refused to “share local” – the latter banned the local manufacturer to sell the Belarusians asphalt. So to carry his “Belavtodor” had from the neighbouring Rivne oblast.

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In 2019, the company decided to compete for another tender in the Volyn region – in the center city shack for a total amount of about UAH 100 million. Qualified Trust # 4, this time the customer has confirmed, allowing for the auction, but then the tender was simply canceled. After, complicating conditions and combining two separate purchases in one auction announced again. The discriminatory conditions of the tender documents Trust No. 4 filed a complaint and AMC ordered the customer to make changes.

The result: the changes were never made, and the purchase was again cancelled by the customer.

As a result of the attempts of officials to push to victory in the auction of a company, as always, people have suffered. Due to the delay provoked by the attempts of local officials to help “their” funds this year were directed to other objects, and the road in Shatsky district and were not repaired.

Perseverance leads to the goal

But there is another side of the coin – three years of work on the Ukrainian market “Belavtodor” has already proved itself a serious competitor responsible for qualitative result of their work.

Already there are regions in which the current government, being interested in real change and improving people’s quality of life, invites a company to tender and the construction of roads.

In fact, offering a best price and respecting the quality, the Belarusians managed to shake up the market, making competition from the apparent to the real. “Road dynasty” forced to adapt to the market, to lower its prices or lose in the fight over the contract, losing the coveted contracts. Naturally, the system resists and uses any loopholes, opportunities, methods and resources for the complexity of the work to its competitors.

Today the enterprises of the holding “Belavtodor” win tenders and operate in many regions of Ukraine: from border with Belarus Rivne, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Chernihiv regions, the Central and southern regions – Cherkasy, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv. Over the past two years the enterprises of the holding “Belavtodor” implemented and implemented 15 road construction projects from local roads to international routes Kiev – Odessa and Kiev – Chernigov – Novye Yarylovichi.

So, last week, 25 September 2019 Road construction trust No. 2 (Gomel) is recognized by the winner in the bidding for the repair of a section of highway N-25 Horodyshche – Rivne – Starokostiantyniv (Rivne region). The contract amount is 745 million 999 thousand UAH and at the moment this is the largest contract for the enterprises of the holding “Belavtodor” in Ukraine.

So the company is sure are on the right track and to give up under the pressure of the system does not intend.

Appeal to the President Zelensky

Given the above, OBOZREVATEL urges President Vladimir Zelensky to intervene and restore order in the sphere of road construction in Ukraine. After all, before the election, and after he declared intentions rigidly to fight against corruption and lawlessness. So why not start this fight into the sphere of road construction?

And law enforcement agencies, following the promises of the President, should be extremely concerned about the safety of the state and its citizens, and not engage in economic issues, in fact – to be an instrument of unfair competition.

Setting fair rules and equal conditions of access to participation in tenders for the construction of roads in the interests of not only road, but also to the whole country. Revealing the dismissal mired in corruption schemes of officials will help to save billions to build a road there, where they long remained only a name. And real, not declarative investment protection – the shortest way to convince foreign partners: in our economy, we are investing in.

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Important nuance. This week, on October 3-4, in Zhytomyr will host the Second Forum of regions of Ukraine and Belarus with the participation of President Vladimir Zelensky and Alexander Lukashenko. It is symbolic that on this Forum the President of Belarus will go on one of the roads built “Belavtodor”. This is an important and positive thing, which I hope will strengthen the mutually beneficial relations between Ukraine and Belarus.

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