"Those, who are now running in place (ed.: in the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power), find it very difficult to catch up with those, who went forward. This rule operates both in sports, in science, and in any area,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, at the forum “Reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power in the southwestern part of the Odesa Oblast: current state and prospects”.
The forum was held in the Bolgrad Rayon of the Odesa Oblast, the rayon with no amalgamated hromadas established during four years of the reform. There are 11 of such rayons in the oblast. This means 192 local councils and almost half a million people, who still remain outside the reform. That is why during the forum the participants were looking for practical ways to accelerate decentralisation processes in the region.
“Working locally, we all the time receive confirmation that the country's capabilities and reserves are extremely powerful and essential for the development of the territories, as well as building of a better life for people. Our main task is to mobilise the resources that the country has – local, regional, state ones – in order to ensure the effective development of the territories. Ukraine should build an efficient system of local authorities for them to work effectively and solve local problems,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
The experts provided proposals on possible format of hromadas’ amalgamation within the Bolhrad Rayon to be discussed at the forum. Namely, they propose to consider the possibility of establishing 5 draft AHs with centres in the city of Bolhrad, village of Kubey, village of Karakurt, village of Horodnye, village of Vasylivka for a balanced, steady territorial development of hromadas in the Bolhrad Rayon.
Studies have shown that back in 2015, AH establishment throughout the rayon would attract additional UAH 131 million at the expense of subvention for the formation of infrastructure of AHs by 2020. And given the value of money in time, the total amount of additional financial resources would make up twice-thrice higher sum. Experts emphasise that these funds mostly cover the need in financing of relevant projects of social and transport infrastructure of local importance, with estimated value of UAH 288 million.
While some lose, others gradually develop. 28 AHs have been established so far in the Odesa Oblast, and 25 of them have direct interbudgetary relations with the state budget. Talking about the development in the language of numbers, the own revenues of local budgets of AHs only in January-April increased by 1.6 times compared to the same period last year, from UAH 190.9 million to UAH 298.5 million. The indicator of own revenues of AHs per capita increased to UAH 1147.7 from UAH 734.0 (+UAH 413.7).
“We are now observing the development of other hromadas, that started this way four years ago. It was very difficult for us then to talk about this topic, as we had only theoretical arguments. Today we have the practical onces. It's very easy for us to talk using examples: look how others do it, and what you've lost over the years, running in place. We need to analyse, why sometimes people on the ground do not do something the way the other hromadas do. After all, decentralisation is primarily intended to give hromadas the powers and resources to enable them to develop their own solutions and not wait for decisions “from above”. It is normal, it’s a European approach. There is no other way. There are simply no other efficient power systems than effective local self-government, and this is what we have to do,” noted the First Deputy Minister.
He added that the dynamics of the reform should result in formation of a capable local self-government in Ukraine by the next local elections-2020.
“Nothing happens in the areas, where implementation of the reform agenda is delayed: new infrastructure is not built, jobs are not created, business does not open... and these are not local authorities, who suffer, but people, because by this time (ed.: the time of the reform), much could have been done,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.
The Forum “Reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power in the southwestern part of the Odesa Oblast: current state and prospects” was organised by the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Local Government Reform in Ukraine” in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government, Institute of Civil Society NGO with the support of the Odesa Oblast State Administration, Odesa Oblast Council and the Bolhrad Rayon State Administration.
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