2018 is on the calendar. 27 years have passed since Ukraine regained its independence, though there is still the Procedure of resolving the issues of the administrative and territorial structure, of, attention!, the Ukrainian SSR (non-existent state) acting on its territory. It was approved in 1981 by the Decree of the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR. This procedure has long failed to meet the current conditions and needs of the Ukrainian state.
In accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine, the issue of the territorial structure of Ukraine is included in the list of issues, determined exclusively by the laws. That is why MinRegion, together with leading Ukrainian experts on the territorial organisation of power, have prepared a draft law of Ukraine “On the Principles of the Administrative and Territorial Structure of Ukraine” (No 8051).
The Ministry emphasises that the new procedure for resolving the issues of the administrative-territorial structure is only a procedure, that is, it defines clear procedures, as well as who and how can solve it, and does not change the existing system of the administrative and territorial structure.
“Headnote number one – the existing administrative and territorial structure of Ukraine is not the subject of legal regulation of this draft law,” comments Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services. “But the state should have clear rules for resolving the issues of the administrative-territorial structure. And such rules cannot be those established by a long-time non-existent state. Instead, there are modern conditions, new needs and challenges. The reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power has been implemented in the country for the fourth year, and the definition of clear procedures for addressing the issues of the administrative-territorial structure is one of its tasks.”
“Headnote number two – adoption of this draft law will enable the introduction of the State Register of Administrative-Territorial Units and Settlements. The Law “On Geographic Names” defines the legal basis for the regulation of relations and activities related to the establishment of names of geographical objects, as well as regulation, accounting, registration, use and preservation of geographical names. And the same law stipulates that the procedure for naming and renaming of geographical objects that make up the system of administrative-territorial structure of Ukraine is determined by a particular law. Thus, the Law of Ukraine “On the Principles of the Administrative and Territorial Structure of Ukraine” should become such a law,” noted Vyacheslav Nehoda.
He drew attention to the fact that in Ukraine there is no legislation defining the procedure of formation and registration of administrative-territorial units and settlements. Hence, there are problems connected with the ordering of the names of administrative-territorial units and settlements, their accounting and timely introduction of changes to the primary register.
Today, the accounting of the data on the number of hromadas and local self-government bodies in accordance with the current legislation is partly carried out by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Accounting of settlements and administrative-territorial units in the oblasts is conducted by oblast councils. At the same time, the decisions of the state authorities and local self-government bodies on issues of settlements’ naming and renaming still come into effect after publication of notices about them in the “Vidomosti of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”, as it used to be before.
Vyacheslav Nehoda presented the inspection data of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government, according to which there were 324 cases of false names of village, settlement and city councils and 902 cases of mistakes in the names of settlements identified in 12110 official forms of local councils. 566 settlements were categorised in violation of the law, 42 settlements were not present in the official accounting at all, 54 officially accounted settlements were not indicated at the local level, and 81 local councils transferred their administrative centre.
The Committee’s inspection has also found out that local councils with mistakes in their names have certificates of state registration of legal entity with a name that is not officially accounted, and received licenses from the licensing system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the manufacturing of seals, and as a result use official forms and seals with mistakes in names. The mentioned mistakes are present in the documents of the citizens – passports, birth certificates, land ownership documents, real estate, inheritance, sale and purchase, donation documents etc., generated by the lack of their primary registration.
“We must fix the situation and not repeat it. The draft law recently approved by the Government is exactly the tool to guide the system in these matters,” noted the First Deputy Minister.
On 28 February, at a meeting of the Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government, Vyacheslav Nehoda called for the support of the draft law defining procedural issues related to resolving of the issues of the administrative and territorial structure.
“After this, of course, a number of other draft laws related to the administrative-territorial structure of the basic and subregional levels are to come. Regular local elections, which, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, will take place in 2020, should take place on a new territorial foundation of the basic and subregional level. Otherwise, we will freeze the existing problems for another 5 years, and this will not benefit either local self-government or Ukraine as a whole,” said the First Deputy Minister.
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