The decentralization launched five years ago needs to be continued and protected because its results can be jeopardized.This was stated by Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman during the XV Ukrainian Municipal Forum in Odesa. The Prime Minister visited the event as part of a working visit to the region. More than 500 representatives of municipalities from all over Ukraine and leaders of the consolidated communities rook part in the forum. Odessa region is one of the leaders in the growth of local budgets. Thus, in January-April of this year, local budget revenues grew by almost 20%. 28 consolidated communities were formed that cover a third of the region's territory with 13.2% of the population there. Baltska and Kuyalnitskaya consolidated communities are the largest ones. They have a direct relationship with the budget. Thus, the volume of only educational and medical subventions for Baltska community amounted to UAH 67 million.
Volodymyr Groysman emphasized that updating of the system of local governance, and hence the philosophy of state governance became the key idea of his work in the Government in the spring of 2014. That step gave a green light to the window of opportunity and allowed to eradicate practice of groundless blocking of resources belonged to municipalities. Until 2014, local authorities could only dream of building roads, hospitals, schools, kindergartens. In 2013, the total local budgets for development were worth only UAH 8.6 billion. Now this indicator is comparable to the budgets of million-strong cities such as Kharkiv and Dnipro. In general, the budgets of the consolidated communities increased by 4 times. The reform allowed not only to fill the budgets, but also to ensure the availability of administrative services.
The centers for administrative services provision is established in each consolidated community and the number of services that people receive without leaving their district is up to 500
"Today I feel like a mayor of all Ukraine. I became the Deputy Prime Minister 2014 to work on the decentralization reform. At that moment, we were forced to consider the idea of federalization of the country - its split and disappearance. But we who are hundreds and thousands of local leaders have begun real changes in the system of local self-government. At that time development budgets were equal to the current development budgets of Kharkiv and Dnipro. We changed this system. But are we all aware that we have not yet passed the point of no return? I see the real threats to decentralization. And we have no right to dismiss problems. We must complete the reform and make it effective. The reform must be protected, the new management system must be protected," the Prime Minister stressed.
The Head of Government underlined that the reform provides people with more opportunities including opportunities to use efficiently the funds transferred in the framework of the reform. And mayors become an instrument for the professional implementation of all important programs.
"What are my proposals concerning further steps? To shape suggestions for amendments to the Constitution in the part of local self-government. This is the basis of the foundations. So we can guarantee the irreversibility of the reform of local self-government. I call for a broad discussion of the relevant bill, which we are ready to make public on the Government portal," Volodymyr Groysman said.
He stressed that the key points of the bill are large powers, fixed financial capacity of communities, the formation of executive committees on an electoral basis, rather than the appointment of officials from Kyiv. This will enable you to effectively manage the areas. "The second position. Small cities. We see that large cities have a resource. We see a real resource in large consolidated communities. And there are those communities that have not yet united. This process must be completed before the next local elections. I emphasize: the next ones!," Volodymyr Groysman said.
According to him, by January 1, 2021 it is essential for district centers and cities of regional significance to receive the status of consolidated communities. "We will demonstrate what decentralization is by our personal example. We are committed to unite and become stronger," the Head of Government said.
Apart from that, PM aired a proposal to support small settlements. "The Government also initiates redistribution of funds of the State Fund for Regional Development and allocated UAH 3 billion to small cities that do not yet have their own development resource. It will be fair and it will be a real support of small settlements," the Prime Minister underlined.
According to Volodymyr Groysman, the most striking initiative is to reduce by 50% the regional state administration and district administration from January 1, 2020. Especially in those regions where amalgamation of communities makes up 100%.
"I know this is a long-awaited decision. This will enable those areas where capable communities are already functioning to implement new standards of life and be managed by those people whom they trust. I do not want to appoint people because I do not know them. But I remain a partner of communities and ready to defend their interests", the Prime Minister underscored.