Regions and hromadas should evolve in strict accordance with their strategies that do not contradict the state strategy. Otherwise, many social infrastructure facilities that are being built and repaired throughout the country, including at the expense of the state budget, may not give the desired effect or become unnecessary at all. And this is an extravagance, which a country cannot afford, said Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, during the Interagency Conference on Regional Development "Sectoral Dialogue – Relevant Problems of Regional Development", held on May 17-18 in Kyiv.
According to him, there are funds for the development of regions and hromadas. The only state support has increased by 38 times in the course of four years: from UAH 0.5 billion in 2014 to UAH 19.4 billion in 2018. In addition, over these years, local budgets have increased their own revenues, and international support for hromadas’ development has increased in Ukraine.
"Though we have to speak not about the amount of money. The main thing is the use of funds. The development of social infrastructure – construction, repair and modern equipment of kindergartens, schools, healthcare institutions, ASCs – is necessary. And this takes place due to decentralisation throughout the country. But we have to think not about buildings, but about people. If a hromada creates a project providing people with jobs, they will not leave it, and there will be those going to new schools, using services of renovated rural health posts and ASCs. If a hromada has good roads and developed public transport, then perhaps every village does not need schools, hospitals, sports complexes... To understand and calculate it all, hromadas and oblasts need development strategies. Now this is not an issue of law execution or wishes of the central government, for the majority of hromadas it is a matter of their own future. The more serious the local authorities will approach the formation and implementation of strategies for the development of their territories, the more opportunities will they have in the future. The consumption strategy should be changed by the growth strategy," noted Vyacheslav Nehoda.
The First Deputy Minister also emphasised that the state, while transferring powers and resources to the ground, tries to take into account the interests of hromadas and regions. "In turn, local authorities should not forget about state interests, their responsibility for the development of the country. Thus, we must balance these interests in order not to stop the positive processes that are taking place on the ground due to decentralisation, and at the same time accelerate the development of the state as a whole," said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
The First Deputy Minister reminded that Ukraine has already formed a legislative framework that allows the implementation of modern regional policy. "Though having European rules, we are in no hurry to comply with them. Just like it often happens on our roads – there are rules, but everyone drives where and how they want. In order to achieve the goals, set in the state strategy for regional development, we should not stop, and begin using the same approaches to the development of territories at all levels – from hromadas to ministries," summed up Vyacheslav Nehoda.
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