As long as voluntary principle in hromadas’ formation is relevant, it is worth benefiting from it
Approval of a new territorial basis for the activities of the hromada authorities is the first task of the new stage of the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power (decentralisation). In other words, in the coming years it is necessary to create capable AHs throughout the territory of Ukraine leaving no settlement behind.
Since the reform is the state policy, it is implemented locally by state executive authorities – rayon and oblast state administrations in partnership with local self-governments and the public. Their first task is to explain the essence and the benefits of reform to the population, as well as modelling n of future amalgamated hromadas, based on the calculations that it is in this format that the hromada will indeed be pable to address local issues. And here there is a lot of work for local administrations, taking into account that local elections in 2020 should take place on a new territorial basis of hromadas.
MinRegion analysed the situation in the area of capable hromadas’ formation. The data show that 6789 Ukrainian hromadas have not yet joined amalgamated ones. 16% of this number or 1795 hromadas are not at all foreseen by the perspective plans of the regions as those that can in the future become part of AHs. There are also hromadas that have amalgamated, but the oblasts have not yet introduced it into perspective plans. The latter is important while the state recognises hromadas’ capability, which affects its transition to direct interbudgetary relations with the state budget.
The perspective plans of oblasts contain 4994 not yet amalgamated hromadas. Among them, 558 hromadas are defined as administrative centres of future AHs.
“These figures state that oblast state administrations should urgently complete the formation of perspective plans that would cover the entire territory of each oblast”, MinRegion says.
According to the Ministry, only 8 oblasts have perspective plans will 100% coverage – namely the Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, Rivne, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi Oblasts. The other oblasts have perspective plans with varying levels of coverage of their territories – from 30% to 99.8%. And only the Zakarpattia Oblast does not have its perspective plan for the formation of hromadas’ territories.
MinRegion emphasises that, with the right approach and coordinated work of local state administrations and local self-governments, work on perspective plans can be completed in the nearest future.
“In order to strengthen the work with human resources, we have once established local government development centres in the regions. We analysed each oblast and identified the recommended administrative centres of the future AHs. In order to facilitate work on hromada capacity calculations, an electronic budget calculator was created. We are currently updating it on the basis of changes to the budget legislation. Everywhere there are expert groups working on explanation of the essence of the reform, its benefits, helping to prepare the necessary amalgamation documents, and then – to form an AH. If there is still something missing to complete this work properly, then you need to say that. But today there are plenty of efforts and resources to finalise perspective plans of oblasts and accelerate the voluntary amalgamation process, since the time when it will be necessary for the state to put a full stop is constantly approaching,” commented Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services.
As it is known, if hromadas amalgamate in accordance with the hromadas’ formation methodology and perspective plan, the state provides them with financial support for infrastructure development. AHs use these funds to repair roads, schools, kindergartens, build water pipes, buy utility vehicles and solve many other issues that have accumulated over the years. The state did not conceal that such financial support is a kind of incentive to make a responsible decision. It is still a question whether those hromadas that will eventually be forced to amalgamate administratively will be able to receive such support.
In total 878 AHs have been formed in Ukraine, and include more than 4 thousand local councils. The rest of the hromadas should hurry up, if they want to receive their share of financial assistance from the state. As long as the voluntary principle in AH formation is relevant, it is worthbenefiting from it.
By the way, the Governmental portal published a regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, having approved the action plan for the implementation of a new stage of reforming local self-government and territorial organisation of power in Ukraine for 2019-2021.
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