Dialogue between local governments and the Cabinet of Ministers continues
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The Prime Minister of Ukraine conducted a meeting to discuss local government problem issues raised in the Appeal of the participants of the 12th Ukrainian Municipal Forum

JULY 18, V. Groisman, Prime Minister of Ukraine conducted a working session with mayors of oblast center cities with the participation of line vice-prime-ministers, leadership of sectoral ministries and central agencies of the state executive.

The agenda of the event included the discussion of local government problem issues, which were raised by the participants of the 12th Ukrainian Municipal Forum and presented in the Forum Appeal to the country leadership.

The event agenda included the following issues:

  • On the current status and future prospects for the development of the housing and municipal utilities sector. Preparations for the 2016/2017 heating season.
  • Tariff policy.
  • On the current status of the national policy in the sphere of energy saving and energy efficiency.
  • State support to population through preferences and subsidies for housing and municipal utility services.
  • Fiscal and tax decentralisation and main directions for the formation of local budgets for 2017.
  • Reforms in the system of public education (including vocational education) and health care.

In his introductory remarks, V. Groisman, Prime Minister of Ukraine, called local governments to implement energy efficiency projects, because this will help the country to attain energy independence, reduce citizen costs for the consumption of energy resources, and open new jobs in communities.

The Prime Minister also called city mayors to cooperation and partnership on issues related to the development of local self-governance. “I am completely on your side and I am well versed in the issues you face every day. And I would like to join you into an apolitical and at the same time responsible and absolutely patriotic tandem, which would allow us to join the efforts of both the Cabinet of Ministers and local governments to offer qualitatively new living conditions for our citizens. And you the critical element of this team”, - stressed V. Groisman.

Source: http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=249196811&cat_id=244276429

In the course of the discussion and debates, city mayors presented the local government problem issues and suggested their solutions.

To engage in a broad based informational and public awareness campaign on the state tariff policy and on citizen support through preferences and subsidies for housing and municipal utility services.

It would be worthwhile to involve volunteer organisations and representatives of the state executive to the public awareness campaign. The informational events could be conducted in libraries, schools, hospitals and kindergartens.

The participants mentioned the cases when local governments did not receive funds from the National Budget to grant preferences and subsidies for housing and municipal utility services.

The mayors also supported the proposal to introduce the monetization of preferences and subsidies for housing and municipal utility services, as well as compensations for privileged urban public transportation services to certain categories of citizens.

The AUC has repeatedly come up with a suggestion to switch over to personalised preferences through their monetization.

The city mayors presented their concerns about the poor functioning of the Prozorro system, which needs to be improved. In addition to this, there is a problem with the Anti-Monopoly Committee blocking tender procurements of local governments. 

With regard to the financial support for the vocational education system the city mayors supported the idea of financing vocational schools from oblast budgets. At the same time, if oblast significance cities are in a position and willing to provide the financial support from the corresponding city budgets, they may do so provided vocational establishments have been transferred to the communal ownership of the corresponding territorial community. However, the mechanisms to transfer the property of vocational schools to communal ownership are complicated and needs to be simplified. AUC mentioned that this year local budgets should receive additional 1.5 billion UAH as stabilisation subsidy envisioned in the National Budget for vocational training establishments.

Aiming at preventing social unrest and disruption of the heating season caused by blocking the operations of municipal heating companies for their debt to the natural gas supplier (due to the difference in tariffs), the city mayors appealed to the Prime Minister to introduce amendments to the relevant Cabinet of Ministers resolutions, draft amendments to legislation, as well as to resolve the issues the debts utility companies accumulated over the previous period on the differences in tariffs.

The Law “On Steps towards Ensuring the Stable Functioning of Business Entities in the Sphere of District Heating and Centralised Water Supply and Sanitation” (Draft Law # 2706 of April 22, 2015), which was approved by the parliament on July 07, 2016 and is supposed to resolve these issues, is expected to be signed by the President.

In the course of the discussions of the formation of tariffs for solid waste management services including solid waste recycling and disposal, the city mayors expressed their support to the system, whereby these tariffs would be set and endorsed by local governments, the idea suggested in the Draft Law “on Housing and Municipal Utility Services” (# 1581-д of December 10, 2015).

Virtually all city mayors stressed that the amounts of the subventions to local budgets for the public education and health care sectors should be revisited and increased in the current year. The factors influencing this change include increase in salaries, inflation rate growth, higher costs of municipal utility services and energy resources, and additional needs arising from the necessity to provide services to citizens displaced from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and areas covered by the anti-terrorist operation.

All the participants of the meeting welcomed the idea of having such meetings and came to an agreement to conduct them on a quarterly basis. The next meeting of Vice Prime Minister V. Groisman is expected to take place in September. 

Background.  On June 21 – 23, the Association of Ukrainian Cities conducted the 12th Ukrainian Municipal Forum in Odesa. The Forum brought together almost 300 representatives of AUC member municipalities, National Deputies, and representatives of government authorities and international organisations.

On June 21, the Dialogue Day for local government officials and central government representatives was held within the framework of the Forum (under the PULSE Project). This event concluded in the approval of the Appeal to the President, Verkhovna Rada and Cabinet of Ministers. The appeal offers a list of most urgent and top priority problem issues local governments face. The list of problem issues was prepared by PULSE Project experts based on the survey of city mayors conducted by the AUC in the course of the preparations for the Dialogue Day.

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