In Ukraine the time is ripe to adopt a law on the principles of administrative and territorial organization, which will form the basic level – the communities and the middle (subregional) level - districts. They (districts) should be sustainable and powerful. Instead of current 465 small districts that have already devolved powers to the consolidated communities and do not know what to do. And there should be 100 large districts with a population of at least 150,000 people.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine Hennadii Zubko said in an interview with Information Agency Ukrinform.
“This will enable the country to create a rather class management at the subregional level. Because now we have 48,000 officials, who work in different administrations, in district and regional ones, receive a total of UAH 6 billion in wages… And they complain that they have low salaries. We propose to reduce the administrative staff so that part of the powers is assumed by the amalgamated communities, which already have their executive committees and their administrative staff. And thus we will manage to improve the quality of management at times, motivated by increased wages. But it would be better these were not district state administrations, but prefectures, which have supervisory and control functions and do not have access to finance”, said Hennadii Zubko.
The top official stressed that it was also important to transfer land resources management to the local level in order to finally take away from the state a corruption-intertwined geocadastre that controls the land on the one hand and distributes the land on the other. By delegating powers to the local level, control remains within the state.
“We must pass a law on territorial planning. For in order to enable them to dispose of land resources, the communities need to be obliged to plan their territory so that each investor can see how much land there is in possession, what kind of land is that, how many social objects are there, where he can place his business, what industries they can develop in this particular community”, Hennadii Zubko said.
The law on local government service is rather critical. On the ground, it is necessary to give the opportunity to select specialists on a competitive basis, to pay salaries, to introduce motivation for these people. It is crucial to fully divide the powers between the state and the local governments, to determine the delegated powers, to provide the financial resources, because there is not always sufficient amount of resources for delegated powers, for example, in education, health care sectors.
Moreover, there are issues of local election law. “We need to adopt a separate law on local government elections. When drafting large electoral codes and mixing one with the other, then we cannot understand where the rules concern the Parliament and where - local government. And another very important issue is open public budgets because it is critical for us to introduce a practice of local government reporting on the use of funds to their citizens within the community”, told the Deputy Prime Minister.