Who and what determines timely completion of decentralisation
“It cannot last long when some hromadas have development, investments, and others do not. Due to own resources and state support through subventions, the AHs can improve the quality of services, infrastructure, educational, healthcare services, whereas in other passive hromadas the situation is preserved and no positive changes occur. From the point of view of the state, taking into account the fact that in such hromadas there is no proactive local government that cares for the interests of people, and not their own, the state must make an administrative decision and form new hromadas, based on purely pragmatic calculations and corresponding perspective plans. It will enable hromada residents to form (elect) a new local self-government, obtain tax resources and start developing under the same legal conditions immediately after the next local elections to be held in 2020,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, in an interview to Ukrinform.
He noted that the process of voluntary amalgamation cannot last forever.
According to him, in 2019, the Verkhovna Rada should adopt a number of important laws in order to complete the reform in time. The first is the law on the principles of the administrative and territorial structure (No. 8051 dated 22 February 2018).
“Ukraine is probably the only one in the European space to have no clearly defined procedure for resolving the issues of the administrative-territorial structure. In fact, we use the Decree of the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of 1981 on the procedure for resolving the issues of the administrative-territorial structure of the Ukrainian SSR. But today it is simply impossible to live under this decree. We have long been a different state. Therefore, there is very much work in 2019 on this issue,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
He also said that it is necessary that the Parliament entitled the Government to develop and approve the administrative and territorial structure at the hromada level and also submit draft laws concerning the rayon division.
The list of important bills includes the deputy draft law on amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Voluntary Amalgamation of Hromadas” (regarding perspective plans for the formation of territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblasts (No. 9441 dated 21.12.2018)). The priority ones are also the draft law “On Service in Local Self-Government Bodies” (No. 8369) and “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Urban Development Regulation” (No. 6403).
Another package of draft laws still to be developed concerns new editions of laws on local self-government, local state administrations, and local elections.
“These laws should clearly differentiate powers between all levels of local self-government bodies, as well as delimit powers between local executive authorities and local self-government bodies. Often, there are questions about the future of rayon councils. We must understand, for example, that if specific self-government powers, that can be met only (and exclusively) at the subregional level, are not formulated, the reasonability of rayon councils will be highly questionable. Authorities cannot be formed without proper competence,” said the First Deputy Minister.
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