The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is engaged into preparation of an honest, realistic draft State Budget for 2017 and plans to submit it to the Verkhovna Rada without any delay. Among the priorities which are included in the budget structure are the national defense and security, the restoration of the Ukrainian road network, a decentralization reform, energy efficiency, agriculture, the promotion of Ukraine's interests at the international arena, social sphere and education.
"I believe that it is our duty to submit the Ukrainian budget for 2017 in September to the Parliament. But to make it absolutely fair", said Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman while opening the Government meeting on Wednesday.
"Many years of our independence, when a false and unfair budget did not ensure the development of our state, and especially stabilization: inflated revenues that in fact didn’t exist, but they were just planned in paper that they would be earned, inflated expenses that caused the economic slump. And this path was leading to the impoverishment of the Ukrainian people", he explained.
The Prime Minister announced that the Government’s task is to submit to the Parliament "an absolutely honest budget," to trigger a professional discussion there and reach a consolidated decision.
The Government will build the state budget for 2017 of new approaches based on the priorities of its activity and development of Ukraine, promised Volodymyr Groysman.
So, question # 1 in the draft 2017 budget is financing of the national security and defense within 5% of GDP.
"After an ordeal, none has a doubt that the Ukrainian army has succeeded. The army that during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of our independence demonstrated to the whole world its spirit, not only its military equipment or a march along the central street of the country, but the spirit of the Ukrainian troops. Everyone could feel it. New weapons, a new uniform of the Ukrainian Army, the new conditions – all these should be prolonged to make the Ukrainian Army strong and endurable, while the security and defense - reliable", accentuated Volodymyr Groysman.
Among the priorities in the draft budget is the restoration of the Ukrainian road network and infrastructure that encourages the creation of new jobs, wages and additional tax revenues, said the Head of Government.
In particular, the sum worth UAH 14 bn will be planned for the Road Fund as an instrument in the construction of roads. It will also accumulate additional funds from international organizations for projects, thus enabling to increase severalfold the financing for Ukrainian roads, even as compared to this year, noted Volodymyr Groysman.
The Prime Minister stressed that the citizens noted a significant growth in number of current and ordinary repairs of roads in the country. However, it is impossible to build high quality roads in a short period of time, he said.
The Government will intensify the decentralization reform in the country. Volodymyr Groysman highlighted that in the course of several years after the launch of the reform, local budgets grew almost twofold and more. "Now we should strengthen the capacities of local authorities, local budgets", he said.
Apart from that, it is significant to increase the responsibility of local authorities for the services they must provide, in particular in education, health care sectors at the local level, preschool and extracurricular education, infrastructure and energy efficiency, emphasized Volodymyr Groysman.
Energy efficiency is also included into the top priorities of the budget policy. In 2017 there will be established an Energy Efficiency Fund, the concept of which has been recently approved by the Government, said the Prime Minister.
"This will give us the opportunity to create a tool of more active energy conservation and will enable us to improve our performance in the consumption of energy resources”, said Volodymyr Groysman. The issue of energy efficiency is a national security issue, it is a matter of our competitiveness, this is topmost issue for our statehood."
In the next year’s budget the Government plans to provide for about 1% of the total output of the agricultural sector, around UAH 5.5 billion, to support small farms. The Government is working to improve the mechanism, said the PM.
"We want those who have land, who cultivates it, who makes Ukrainian products, and even better, who processes them, to receive the appropriate support from the state. And this support of the state we together with farmers must direct to the domestic machine manufacturing, something that is badly needed today by the Ukrainian agrarian: re-equipment, upgrading to improve performance, expanding the range of products", stressed the Head of Government.
The Government will offer the Parliament to increase the funding of Ukrainian diplomatic missions abroad. In addition, this year full –fledged trade missions of Ukraine should be established, said Volodymyr Groysman.
"Our export potential is undeveloped. We need supportive structures in other countries to facilitate the Ukrainian producers and businesses selling their goods and services effectively, thereby affording us to explore new market and develop those we have", he said.
Education sector is another priority included in 2017 budget. "From birth a child has only one chance to go to kindergarten, to finish school, so this period is extremely important”, accentuated Volodymyr Groysman. What we are capable to give this child as a stock of knowledge means that he or she will be competitive and successful."
In addition, the Government will place in the budget raising salaries for the Ukrainian teachers. "This is the basic position that we will support as well, we will fight for, and this is only the beginning", said Volodymyr Groysman.
The Prime Minister accentuated that among the top priority issues for the Government is the question of the wages and pension security for Ukrainian citizens. The Government will suggest approaches to change the system of remuneration of labour in Ukraine and pension provision, he said.
“It will be absolutely realistic budget, not populist but real”, stressed the Head of Government. “Once we have formed and approved this non-populist budget, since that moment the opportunities for stabilization and development will raise dozens times. It is extremely important task for all of us", he summed up appealing to the members of the Cabinet of Ministers.