Three years ago, on 5 February 2015, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law on voluntary amalgamation of hromadas, which enabled hromadas to consolidate their efforts, receive new powers and resources, and use them to develop their territories, as well as improve the quality and accessibility of local services. During this time, most local councils joined the amalgamation process, and those that were the first to unite have already proved their capability to form a new level of quality of life on their territories, said Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services.
He recalled that within the current new conditions, with more resources and powers, there are already 665 AHs comprising 3,118 local councils. Another 40 amalgamated hromadas, formed of 163 village, rural settlement and town councils, are waiting for the first elections of local heads and deputies. The process of amalgamation does not stop: currently there are still 50 AHs at different stages of formation, and their number increases almost every day.
“The question may arise whether establishment of 705 AHs in three years is a lot or not. But I would ask the question in a bit different way: have these hromadas demonstrated their success sufficiently enough so that anyone who doubts or criticises the reform starts finally using the advantage of the opportunities it provides? And to this I will surely answer “yes”. There are disadvantages in the work of AHs, but there is no escaping the fact that substantial changes are happening there, too,” said Hennadii Zubko.
According to him, those hromadas that believed in the reform in 2015 and immediately began to use new opportunities, have already implemented thousands of infrastructure projects. Now they are already moving away from holes’ patching and embark on a comprehensive development of their territories.
“Amalgamated hromadas prove with their own activities that they are capable of changing the quality of life in towns and villages. These hromadas already have a strategic vision of development, create new jobs, involve residents in solving local issues. Changes happen there not due to decisions and resources from above, as it used to be before, but due to the ability of local leaders to attract and effectively use resources and powers, due to their willingness to be responsible for their decisions and actions. And most importantly – the residents of AHs began to realise that much now depends on their viewpoints, their choice and initiative. And this is exactly what the reform was launched for,” said Hennadii Zubko.
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