Following a Facebook campaign and intense lobbying from IT activists, the Ukrainian government is putting public pressure on PayPal to make its payment services fully available to Ukrainian residents.
Today PayPal offers a limited set of features in the country: Ukrainians may open a PayPal account and use it to send payments — but not to receive payments. These restrictions make life more difficult to thousands of Ukrainian free lancers — in particular, in the IT business — who work with foreign clients or partners.
In one year, more than 17,000 people signed an online petition on Change.org. Another initiative on Facebook, christened “PayPal for Ukraine Initiative,” has attracted 16,000 “likes” in a mere one week, including those from leading figures of the Ukrainian high-tech scene.
“PayPal services in Ukraine will improve the economic climate by allowing individuals and small businesses to sell goods and services in the global marketplace. We are building public support and awareness and work with companies, government organizations and public officials to promote this issue,” the Facebook page reads.
In May, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine (ACC) called the Ukrainian central bank and the ministry of economy to lift the regulatory obstacles that prevent such payment systems ad PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet to operate fully in Ukraine.
In an official letter sent to PayPal in early June, the Central Bank and the ministry of economy called the US operator to open an office in Ukraine. “Unfortunately Ukraine, a state with 45 million inhabitants and an associated member of the European Union, is still absent from PayPal’s map. The Ukrainian government sees a significant social demand for quality online payment services while the IT community is developing actively,” the letter reads, according to Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA.
“Today this is one of the most important issues for the IT industry,” commented Deputy Minister of Economy Maxim Nefyodov.
Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius added some pressure in a public statement on June 22: “We want Ikea in Ukraine, we want H&M, we want PayPal, we want to be part of Europe,” Bloomberg quoted him as saying.
The country’s gross domestic product will grow as much as 2.5 percent in 2016 if the conflict in the war-ravaged nation’s easternmost regions doesn’t escalate, Abromavicius believes. “Ukraine’s economy is past the worst and headed for expansion for the first time since 2012.”
PayPal has appointed a dedicated manager to accelerate service deployment in Ukraine, reported AIN.UA.