The International Monetary Fund mission is interested in the decentralisation reform for the first time. It is the reform that entirely changes the system of government in the state, financial and potential capacity of regions. It was so reported by Vice-Prime Minister - Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine Hennadii Zubko during the presentation of the decentralisation reform monitoring to representatives of the IMF.
"The decentralisation is not just the increase of local budgets, but an incentive for the local self-government to encourage investments for the development of communities, and the implementation of infrastructure projects. The reforms that are implemented in the country constitute a kind of a 3D model. Since, the reform of any industry - health care, education, social area - goes down to the community level, and communities are currently undergoing a transformation phase. Every reform has to be verified at the community level", Hennadii Zubko emphasized.
The Government has already completed the first stage of financial decentralisation: amendments regarding the transfer to the bodies of local self-government of additional budget authority and securing stable sources of revenue to implement such authority have been made to the Budget and Tax Codes of Ukraine. As a result, the financial position of the local self-government has significantly improved.
The Vice-Prime Minister underlined that, over the period of three years from the beginning of the decentralisation reform, revenues of local budgets in Ukraine increased by UAH 102.1 billion or by 2.5 times, from UAH 68.6 billion in 2014 to UAH 170.7 billion in 2017 (the budget target for 2017 is UAH 170.7 billion, the expected performance is UAH 190 billion).
"Today the country faces a number of significant challenges. We should reinforce the decentralisation at the legislative level and make amendments to the Constitution as soon as possible. Supervisory functions in terms of determining the decentralisation principles and the capability of local self-government should be assigned to the state, whereas the executive ones, transferred to communities", he informed.
The matters that were discussed at the meeting with the IMF representatives included the prospective vision of the reform process, in particular, its financial aspect and sectoral dimension; regulatory support for the amalgamation of communities, as well as the adoption of amendments to the Constitution; enhancement of the level of autonomy and independence of the amalgamated communities in making decisions as a result of reforms; implementation of the reform at the local level, etc.
For reference purposes:
As of today, there are about three thousand local councils that have already amalgamated or are going through the final stages of amalgamation.
After the first local elections are held on 29 October 2017, there will already be about 700 voluntarily amalgamated territorial communities (the "ATCs") operating in Ukraine.
As of today, pursuant to resolutions passed by local councils, the total number of the ATCs established in 2015-2017 is 676. Of which:
in 366 ATCs, the first local elections were held in 2015-2016; in 47 ATCs, the first local elections were held in April 2017 (in total, 1,971 former councils have amalgamated);
in 201 ATCs (933 councils), the first local elections are called on 29 October 2017;
regarding 62 ATCs (279 councils), their materials are at the Central Election Commission awaiting the elections are called;
31 ATCs (89 councils) are in the process of making their final decision on the amalgamation;
17 ATCs (58 councils) are awaiting the opinion to be prepared by Oblast State Administrations.
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