It is inadmissible to halt the process of decentralization, amalgamation of communities and introduction of new opportunities for the development of territories. Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman made this statement during a meeting on accelerating the process of voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities. The theme of accelerating the association is very relevant for Ukraine primarily in the context of the continuation of the decentralization reform.
At present more than 200 settlements mostly district centers, cities of regional subordinance and urban-type settlements are potential centers of consolidated communities (CCs). However, they are not involved in the process of amalgamation. It is often happens due to the lack of appropriate plans and direct opposition from the heads of local administrations. As a result, more than 2.6 million people cannot take full advantage of the possibilities offered by the reform and receive the new quality of services that capable and financially secured CCs already have.
"We understand that it has been some time since the launch of the reform. We need to go further and continue the reform in terms of its irreversibility. We need to take a number of steps. This will enable us to ensure the irreversible changes and to secure success. The goal is to create a capable communities throughout the country. Full authority and resources should be transferred to the communities", Volodymyr Groysman underscored.
The Head of Government recalled that the decisions offered by the Government will allow to shape of a network of CCs during 2020 and enable people to fully mobilize resources and make decisions.
The aforementioned decisions envisage the modernization of the functions of district administration by transforming them into executive committees. Also to grant district centers the status of consolidated community. "We consider it appropriate from January 1, 2020 and until January 2021, to grant to district centers the status of consolidated communities together with powers and resources. This will allow to test the system as well as to gain experience", Volodymyr Groysman said.
A special emphasis was placed on the redistribution of funds to the tune of UAH 3 billion from the State Fund for Regional Development to district centers and cities of regional subordinance. "This will strengthen the capabilities and financial capacity of district centers. And communities in regions will decide where money will be allocated. It is unacceptable to stop the processes od decentralization", the Prime Minister added.
The key focuses of amendments to the Constitution outlined by the Government and proposed for discussion are the following: consolidation of a clear system of administrative-territorial organization, consolidation of an effective system of local self-government, guaranteeing the material and financial basis of local self-government and introducing the Prefect Institute as a tool of state control.
Apart from that it is proposed to enshrine in the amendments a three-tier system of administrative-territorial arrangement (community, district, region) and special status of Kyiv and Sevastopol. At the same time, the council of communities becomes representative bodies of local self-government of the basic level with the same status and powers. District and regional councils represent the common interests of territorial communities, district, and region. New executive bodies - executive committees will be established at the level of district and state administrations.
The financial capacity of communities is also proposed to enshrine in the Constitution by creating a two-tier system of interrelations between the central and local budgets. This form of interrelation has already yielded results: during the 2015-2017 more than 3,100 local budgets have been consolidated in 665 budgets of the CCs which have switched to direct interrelations with the state budget and can directly receive intergovernmental transfers.