The other day the Cabinet of Ministers submitted to the parliament a draft state budget for 2018. According to the chairman of the Samopomich Union faction Oleh Bereziuk, in spite of the fact that the faction has just started analyzing the document, many significant questions have already arisen.
In particular, it is stated that in some cases the government can exceed the debt limit, that is, issue paper money to replenish the funds of state-owned banks. “So, are we going to fill huge 197-billion hole of Privatbank by means of inflation and printing money?” Oleh Bereziuk is curios. “Then the increase in pensions, which was to be made by 100-200-300-400 hryvnias, simply will not be enough, because dollar might soar to the level of 36 hryvnias from today’s 26.”
In addition, the dollar rate calculated at the level of thirty hryvnias is disturbing. This means 12% of guaranteed inflation from the very beginning.
“Secondly,” he adds, “the expenditures of the state budget should be primarily allocated for the defense capability of the country. Yet, there is an important issue – no one knows how the defensive money is spent. The army remains without weapons, without ambulances. As a result, our soldiers cannot be taken out of the battlefield. Therefore, we must demand civil control over expenses.”
Thirdly, and this is, perhaps, the most important thing – the government poses a catastrophic threat to fiscal decentralization by its draft budget. In particular, reimbursement of benefits for housing and communal services is transferred to local governments. In addition, higher education institutions of the first and second level of accreditation are funded from the local budgets.
The head of the Samopomich faction comments on such initiatives as follows, “One can indulge in illusions that once we shift the responsibility from the government down to the local level, the Cabinet will be great, and the local level will somehow cope. But in the end there might be no local level at all, because it has not yet become strong enough to cope with these challenges. Therefore, if you transfer functions down, you must transfer them along with the money.”
And finally, judging from the draft budget, the development of the police state continues. Bereziuk explains: “A lot of money is spent on the internal police. On the one hand this is necessary and important; on the other hand, we need to make sure we are not creating an army of internal troops which will fight with its own people.”
Along with the excessive expenditure for the power block, the government should increase the funds for medical reform. Oleh Bereziuk is convinced that this is a key reform that should be considered before the pension one, because real changes in the medical system will increase the life expectancy of people. “But the reform is not implemented, because the parliament dos not want to pass it, while the President does not want to support it,” the MP emphasizes.
“We have only held the first discussion with our faction,” Oleh Bereziuk concludes, “and we already have many substantive questions to the government. In order to find answers to them, we need a discussion, not coercion; the same applies to the pension reform.”