“It is wrong to blame it all on the mayor, who did not want to succumb to the Presidential Administration,” a Samopomich deputy commented on the situation with the disruption of the heating season in the city of Smila. Roman Semenukha notes that the situation in Smila is not an exception, but rather a rule. And several factors had caused it.
First of all, it is the mismanagement of the mayors, who for many years had not been investing in the modernization of heating networks and infrastructure, because it is unprofitable. But we are witnessing such a situation not in Smila only.
“It’s easier to do things the way they are done in Kharkiv, in which the city’s development budget is about 4 billion hryvnias and about 2 billion hryvnias are allocated for the reconstruction of the zoo – that is, every second hryvnia of Kharkiv taxpayers. After all, it is easier to make a show – to reconstruct a zoo, instead of taking care of what is invisible lying under the ground.”
The second factor is debts. After the government significantly increased gas prices in 2015, we continue to observe the accumulation of gas debts. As of August of this year, the debt to Naftogaz has amounted to 16.7 billion hryvnias, the debt for central heating and hot water supply is more than 10 billion hryvnias.
“Meanwhile, with its resolution of April 27, the government tightens the requirements for receiving subsidies. And some of households and families who really need subsidies will not receive them in this heating season. And there is a huge risk that this debt will keep accumulating,” explains the people’s deputy.
Roman Semenukha was also surprised by the Prime Minister’s desire to dismiss the mayors:
“The Prime Minister does not want to admit that he is actually letting down the local government. Every mayor knows that there is a chronic underfunding of medical and educational subventions. But most importantly, Hroisman does not want to comply with the law of Ukraine, with obliges him to cover the tariff difference, which has accumulated since 2015. Hroisman gives Smila a short-term loan of 25 million hryvnias, but it is Hroisman himself who is robbing Smila and all the cities of Ukraine by not providing them with the subvention.”
The population of Shepetivka, where there are also problems with heating, and Smila have paid for the consumed services, that is, there are no complaints against people today. Whereas the President together with the government intervene into the situation only once protests are held.
“People pay money to an enterprise that was once communal and then was transferred to private ownership. These funds were taken to offshores, stolen. Then, the presidential branch of government (this branch is the one controlling the National Commission for Regulation in Energy and Utilities) allows Naftogaz not to supply gas to companies that are in debt. And who is to blame for this situation? Where are the law enforcement officers? Where is the Ministry of Internal Affairs? Where is the money paid by the people of Smila? After all, if the law enforcement system worked, the money would have returned to people and, in fact, there would be no problem,” concludes Roman Semenukha.