On January 28, Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko met the heads of regional finance departments. The meeting was also attended by first deputy Minister for regional development and municipal utilities Vyacheslav Negoda, deputy Ministers of education Inna Sovsun and Pavlo Khobzey, deputy Minister of health Igor Pereginetz. The event was staged as a joint meeting of the Ministry of Finance and the National Advisory Council for public finance management.
The Government of Ukraine is continuing to implement concrete steps on the way to fiscal and budgetary decentralization with the aim to build up an absolutely new system of interbudgetary relations. The amendments to the tax legislation adopted in December 2015 by the Parliament have contributed to the fact that the local budgets in 2016 are expected to grow by 16.6% (which is UAH 47.1b) due to the expanded tax base for them.
During the meeting, the Minister of Finance pointed out that the local administrations, along with additional funds passed to the local level, are also taking on additional responsibilities.
«We have equipped the local administrations not only with additional powers, but also with a significant responsibility. First, it’s about responsibility for decisions on local spending priorities, i.e. what should be financed first and what areas should be optimized due to low priority. Second, it’s about responsibility for spending money in a timely and correct way», Natalie Jaresko said.
According to the Minister of Finance, examinations conducted by the Financial Inspection Authority make it clear that violations are sometimes conceded in budget spending. Natalie Jaresko turned the attention of the meeting participants to the cases when public funds remain unused due to the low budgetary discipline of the local administrations: postponing of important decisions, delays in issuing the necessary documents. Subsequently, citizens do not receive funds and services assigned to them, just like it was the case in creating citizen centers and customs control zones.
«The Ministry of Finance is actively working to pursue a consequent and predictable budget policy. Our objective is to secure a sustainable budget for the respective year, to reduce the possible impacts of political processes on the state budget, to strengthen the responsibility of all parties involved in the budget process for their decisions and for budget funds management. Compliance with the budget discipline and balanced cost planning are important steps on this way which must be made by the central government as well as by the local administrations», Natalie Jaresko emphasized.