"The strategic objective for the country is to introduce a new system of public administration and administrative and territorial structure. The basis of this system is changes in the Constitution. To make this system work, we should adopt hundreds of laws that are to be elaborated now to ensure real decentralization process to the very bottom", stressed Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk at a meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities on Thursday, July 23.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk emphasized that the Ministry of Regional Development should strive “to make efficient, strong and powerful territorial communities".
According to the Prime Minister, a lot has been done in this direction: "The steps taken by the Government and the Parliament that were often criticised have shown their effectiveness".
He stressed that budget decentralization became the first step towards increasing financial resources of local communities and “to make local government work": "We gave them a fishing rod and after a year they have caught plus 40% of local revenues. It is an actual result of fiscal decentralization".
Arseniy Yatsenyuk appealed to the local government bodies "to use all the opportunities": "If someone thought that decentralization means we just give away all the funds to lower levels, and from there they will tell us how to distribute the funds of the central budget, they are mistaken. This is a bilateral process. You get the local powers, but you get the responsibility as well."
"We need new quality local communities, new quality local councils and city management. Including a new electoral system, an effective one, which should enable implementation of fiscal, administrative and political decentralization," he accentuated.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed that Ukraine's President and the Parliament had taken serious measures in the administrative reform concerning transfer of real powers to the lower levels – "these are amendments to the Constitution, "No matter who or how they are trying to politicize them, but it's really a landmark decision to hand over the powers from the centre to local communities".
"The regional state administrations that perform today absolutely inappropriate functions to distribute funds and to intervene in economic activity should be liquidated as a class. The President will have prefects, whose task is to supervise the observance of the legislation on relevant areas and coordination, instead of intervention in the activities of territorial central executive authorities. The rest of functions should be transferred to the local authorities, territorial communities," he explained.
The Prime Minister expressed hope that the Parliament in its constitutional majority would vote for the relevant changes: "This means that after entering in force of the constitutional amendments we will again have elections to the local governments, as these changes empower local communities to perform other functions."
Arseniy Yatsenyuk stressed that in the coming two years we should "be fully prepared to transition to a new quality government management system in which citizens would rely on their city mayors, head of the executive authority, their local deputy. At this, according to him, central authorities would solve key issues, such as national security and defence, law enforcement, justice, international activities.