In five years of decentralisation, the Zakarpattia Oblast has not taken full advantage of the reform and has not used its enormous potential for development. There is now a political will in the region to provide hromadas with the opportunity to develop. Finally, a perspective plan for hromadas’ formation must be adopted, said Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, during a meeting of the working group on drafting of the Perspective Plan for the formation of capable hromadas of the Zakarpattia Oblast.
“With the change of the head of the oblast state administration, there is some optimism regarding decentralisation in the Zakarpattia Oblast. I see that the oblast leadership is set to quickly make the necessary decisions that will unlock the reform in the region. The OSA and the oblast council understand that it is needed not for the check in the box, but for hromadas themselves and their residents, who have already lost enormous resources over the years of the reform that could have been allocated for better infrastructure, better services, and therefore they could have already had higher living standards. The hromadas that managed to amalgamate in the Zakarpattia Oblast are showing good results, proving that these changes are real,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
According to him, as soon as the OSA submits its perspective plan for hromadas’ formation in the Zakarpattia Oblast, and the oblast council accepts it, the reform in the region will be unlocked. This year is the last for hromadas to amalgamate, move to direct interbudgetary relations with the state, have support from the state budget, and show the result to voters before the next local election.
“The issue of forming capable hromadas and rayons is not just about mathematics. One cannot just put data into a programme that will show where and what hromadas and rayons should be. Each region has local features to consider. And Zakarpattia is no exception. Therefore, we are more focused on the proposals of the regional working group, on the decisions of the oblast authorities. Of course, you will not be able to take into account the wishes and interests of all hromada and rayon leaders. I believe you should not do this – you should be guided by the territory development prospects and opportunities for improving services to people. If a surgeon listened to the patients' advice during the operation, what would happen? – noted Vyacheslav Nehoda addressing the working group.
At the same time, he reminded that perspective plan is not a final decision on formation of hromadas of the region and it should not even immediately cover 100% of the oblast territory. It can be changed, and it has been repeatedly done in other oblasts. “Do not waste time discussing and resolving all the controversial issues. You can do this later with changes to the plan. But give hromadas a document that will open up opportunities for those willing to amalgamate, even if it is not perfect. We can no longer hold back hromadas’ initiative,” said the First Deputy Minister.
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