Friday, June 30 2017 18:45 EEST
Ukraine
President: Local budgets must develop local communities
President, Local,  Budgets,  Must,  Develop,  Local, Communities

President Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that the increase of local budgets within decentralization must stimulate active development of local communities.

“Tell me frankly, could anyone expect these results three years ago? Local budgets have grown by 100 billion hryvnias over this period. I am convinced that few people believed in this figure in 2014,” the President said in the meeting of the Association of Cities of Ukraine.

According to him, the increase of budgets is continued. “100 billion is an incomprehensible figure, however we must imagine repaired and constructed roads, new schools that haven’t been built for 23 years, hospitals, lighting. For the first time in many years, municipal vehicles, trolleybuses and trams have been purchased not only in Kyiv. Every city gained benefits,” he stressed.

According to the President, the budget revenues of Dnipro last year equaled 11 billion hryvnias and in 2014, they equaled about 3 billion. A big difference. In Kyiv, the budget revenues increased almost up to 39 billion hryvnias and in 2014, they equaled 24 billion. In Vinnytsia – last year almost 3 billion hryvnias and in 2014 – a bit more than 1.5 billion. This is a trend of the whole country. “This is a real work of the local and central authorities,” he said.

The Head of State emphasized that the Association of Cities of Ukraine worked hard together with him: “For you are co-sponsors of these reforms. We are co-authors”.

He added that much had been done – amendments to the legislation, amendments to the budget policy, amendments to the revenue base. However, much is still to be done. “Everyone has certain tasks. Central authorities must improve the legislation on the basis of the practical experience. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted several laws to allow the territorial communities to receive funds for the improvement of the road infrastructure and introduction of the mechanisms for rapid energy saving,” the President said. He also recalled that Ukraine had already reduced natural gas consumption by 30%. In addition, the gas is now supplied from Europe, not Russia.

At the same time, the President emphasized that new opportunities, resources are also an additional responsibility. “Deposits of local heads in commercial banks are the evidence of inefficient management of the city. The community expects schools and roads, not deposits. If they are unnecessary, tell us and we will find a purpose for them, as the state has lots of problems,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.

The President noted that the increase of local budgets took place in war conditions, when almost 6% of GDP was spent for the security and defense sector, which had allowed creating the AFU in three years.

“Someone wants to save money to buy votes cynically. Dear friends, elections are not soon. The electoral season will begin in 2019, according to the legislation,” the Head of State said.

“We must stop populism and let the country work without elections four years, conduct real reforms. It is better to have a powerful motivation to invest money in the development of communities, rather than to provide single handouts,” he noted.

“New or well-repaired roads, equipped dump site, high-quality water supply, street lighting, repaired schools, new buses and trolleybuses, parks. People are very grateful today when they see changes in the capital and regional centers. It is very important and it creates a different mood of Ukrainians. These examples show the benefits of decentralization,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.

At the same time, the Head of State noted that the expansion of powers and budgets increased risks of corruption. He addressed the law enforcers to pay attention to all stages of formation, approval and use of local budgets. “It is a good tradition that the majority of funds is spent via ProZorro system. “Bribes and financial fraud must be eliminated in the bud. These funds were taken away from the army and national security not for someone to line one’s pockets,” the President noted.

Petro Poroshenko added that the repair of roads, maintenance of the housing stock in a proper condition, removal and disposal of garbage, as well as many other issues should never be resolved by the central government. When we provide money, powers and rights, they must necessarily correspond with responsibility. First and foremost, to the community. This is an issue of the Mayor, city council, local authorities.

The President noted that the majority of local leaders had coped with that wonderfully. “This is your responsibility. You must learn to take and bear this responsibility, not put your blame on the center. It has its own powers and responsibility,” the Head of State stressed.

At the same time, the President emphasized that central authorities were always ready to provide a comprehensive assistance to the cities. However, local authorities should put aside their political ambitions and consider the center as an ally and reliable partner in the issue of ensuring the European standards of life in every Ukrainian community, as stated by the President.

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