MinRegion published the Transition Book (reform road map) prepared for successors. The material contains goals, achievements and next steps in 6 directions of the Ministry's activity.
Why is reform needed?
The new leadership of the country, although so far only in words, supports the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power (decentralisation) and expresses its readiness to complete it. Thus, with the change of government, support for the reform has not disappeared. The main thing is that understanding of reasons for decentralisation to be implemented does not change.
In its Transition Book on decentralisation MinRegion reminded that the goal of the reform is to provide a comfortable environment for people’s life in Ukraine by building an effective system of governance at the local level.
Therefore, the main thing is not how many hromadas amalgamated, how local budgets have changed and what the rayons will be like, but how much has the life in hromadas has improved, how much closer and better the services and infrastructure have become...
What has already been done?
MinRegion also recalled that the country has already created a legislative framework for financial decentralisation, amalgamation and accession of hromadas and their functioning, for hromadas’ cooperation and facilitation of local administrative services.
Hromadas also have significant financial support from the state budget to develop infrastructure and services.
All figures could be seen even before the release of the transition book- in MinRegion’s monthly monitoring.
According to MinRegion, the main indicator of the reform efficiency is its support by Ukrainian society. According to a survey conducted by the Ministry with the support of the Council of Europe Decentralisation and Territorial Consolidation in Ukraine programme, 58% of the country's population, compared to 19% in 2015, believe that the local government reform is needed, 61% of residents of amalgamated hromadas note the improvement of the quality of services in their settlements, 80% of the population of Ukraine are aware of the local self-government reform.
What issue are to be solved?
First, MinRegion’s team will need to finally “make” the Central Election Commission schedule the first elections in the voluntarily amalgamated hromadas this year.
Secondly, it is necessary to uphold, and better to increase, the support to hromadas in the State Budget for 2020.
The global task for the coming year will be to change the administrative and territorial structure at the level of hromadas and rayons, which at present does not provide a proper territorial basis for the activity of state authorities and local self-government.
In other words, capable hromadas and rayons need to be formed across the country before the next local elections in 2020. It is planned that there will be about 1300 AHs in 2021 and around 100 rayons (more about the reform of rayons).
In addition, it is necessary to amend the legislation on local elections and clearly distinguish between state and local self-government powers, as well as between levels of self-government on the principle of subsidiarity.
MinRegion plans not only to create a new administrative and territorial structure, but to make it really capable. This will be measured in particular in the accessibility of public services: the percentage of those satisfied with the quality of public services, including administrative services through ASCs, should be at least 65% by 2022 (now – 44%), the Ministry plans.
What exactly needs to be done?
In order to put into practice all of the above, the Ministry (but not only the Ministry) has to make concrete and quick decisions and actions.
MinRegion plans to develop and submit to the Cabinet of Ministers the following draft laws in the nearest future:
on settlement of the issue of approval of the administrative-territorial structure of the basic level;
“On Local Self-Government in Ukraine” (new version);
“On Local State Administrations” (new version) (or the Law of Ukraine “On the Prefect” - after amendments to the Constitution);
“On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Central Executive Bodies” regarding optimisation of powers of central executive bodies and their territorial divisions with account of the subsidiarity principle”;
on amendments to the Budget Code of Ukraine and the Tax Code of Ukraine taking into account the draft new version of the Laws of Ukraine “On Local State Administrations” and “On Local Self-Government in Ukraine” regarding the financial support of the powers of local self-government bodies;
on extension of the jurisdiction of local self-government bodies to the whole territory of the respective hromada in the field of land relations;
"On amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Local Elections" with regard to ensuring representation of citizens in the council of hromada and territorial hromadas - in rayon and oblast councils.
MinRegion will also support the draft laws already developed in the Verkhovna Rada, which we hope will again reach the Parliament:
“On the Principles of Administrative and Territorial Structure of Ukraine”.
“On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Regulation of Urban Planning Activity”.
“On Service in Local Self-Government Bodies”.
Together with the new parliament, the ministry will work on legislative regulation of the local referendum, as well as creating preconditions for involving citizens in local decision-making processes.
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