On November 19, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal held a second meeting with the Association of Ukrainian Cities to discuss the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and the issue of filling local budgets. The online meeting was also attended by the leadership of the Ministry of Health and representatives of other ministries.
The Prime Minister thanked the leaders for their contribution to combating the spread of coronavirus and called for joint efforts to ensure more effective work.
"Each of us is responsible for people's lives and health. We need to share this responsibility, exchange constructive advice and proposals to find a way out of the situation together," said the Prime Minister.
In particular, the Prime Minister called on city heads to adhere to the weekend quarantine restrictions, because it is the only alternative to lockdown. He also said that all possible options should be considered in case of deterioration of the situation with the spread of the disease, including the possible tightening of quarantine restrictions.
"We do not want to introduce a strict lockdown, which we were introducing in the spring. We are ready to listen to your advice on tightening quarantine restrictions," said the Prime Minister.
The Head of Government said that the Government had transferred the second tranche of UAH 870 million to the city budgets to provide beds with oxygen systems and stressed that the Government had simplified all relevant procedures. The Prime Minister also called on the city heads to maintain the transportation of patients with COVID-19, which in turn will improve the transportation of oxygen equipment.
Besides, on the outcomes of the meeting, Prime Minister commissioned the Ministry of Energy, together with local governments, to study the issue of power grid capacity in areas near hospitals to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply.
During the meeting, the Head of Government heard the main problems and proposals of mayors to improve the functioning of local governments.
Thus, the heads of cities raised the issue of transferring the excise tax on fuel to local budgets. For his part, the Prime Minister noted that the Ministry of Finance is ready to compromise, in particular, that part of the excise tax should be directed to the budgets of local communities.
"We are going to settle this issue in a due course. We are not going to give excise tax to regional administrations, it will be a direct subvention transferred to territorial communities. All taxes paid by the regions to the state budget must be returned to them in the form of a subvention," said Denys Shmyhal.
Apart from that, the Prime Minister said that the Government will continue to strengthen the decentralization reform and after the President of Ukraine signs the law on the independence of local budgets, the regions will receive more than UAH 500 billion.