Citizens should learn how to control expenses of the local budgets that are going to exceed 500 bln UAH in 2018

Within three years of operation of the law on decentralization, as many as 665 consolidated territorial communities were established in Ukraine. Comparing to a general European practice of implementation of administrative-territorial reforms, this is one of the record-setting numbers of established CTC in such a short while. However, such speed of consolidation does not guarantee that the citizens fully realize the responsibility originating from such step. It is necessary to learn how to draft effective budgets, how to control implementation thereof, how to publicly report for disbursing of the budget funds. In order to assist citizens and the local authorities to cooperate more effectively, the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) has developed a series of videos “Control The Budget By Yourself”.

After amendments to the Budget Code in the end of 2014, the local budgets are obtaining more and more funds at their disposal. According to the figures by the State Treasury Service, revenues of the local budgets (excluding budget transfers) have grown from 101.1 bln UAH in 2014 to 207.23 bln UAH in 2017 (in compliance with the plan); next year, this figure is forecasted to grow up to 250.38 bln UAH. Besides the revenues, expenditures have also increased. Thus, in 2014, overall expenditures of the local budgets amounted to 225.63 bln UAH; in 2017, it is planned to amount to 504.7 bln UAH, and the forecast for 2018 is 520.72 bln UAH.

“The bigger share of the individual income tax and the part of excises is left on the local level. In addition, local communities dispose the money from the real estate tax, tourist fee, administrative service fees, income from lease of the communal property and payment for use of some natural resources”, - specifies Yaroslav Zhalilo, Chief of Economic Programs of ISER. - Obviously, growing amount of the budget funds at the local level must boost more responsible attitude of citizens to the control of drafting and implementation of local budgets”.

These days, in Ukraine, the budgets for the next year are being drafted on all the levels; these budgets must be approved before December, 25. Participation not only by officials, but also by citizens is prescribed. Thus, the local authorities should publicly report to the community on the effectiveness of disbursing the budget funds: therefore, the budget should be drafted transparently and effectively. In their turn, the citizens should exercise their right to come up with their proposals to the budgetary provision of the needs of the community or of implementation of socially useful projects. This is an ideal image that in facts, as ISER experts notice, is not always real.

“Awareness of citizens on the budgeting process is low; they often do not understand what are the problems to be solved by the local authorities and what are the issues and requirements to be addressed to the central power. They do not realize that budget money are their money as 70 copecks from every Hryvnia in the budget come from the taxpayers”, - explains Maryna Dadinova, ISER Communications Adviser, Manager of the Project “Control The Budget By Yourself”.

Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) has created a series of social videos “Control The Budget By Yourself”. Each video answers various questions and explains to the citizens, where the money in the budgets come from, how different needs of the citizens  and local communities are being financed, how to find information on disbursing the budget funds and how one can influence at drafting a local budget.

1. Where is the budget money received from?

2. How the budget money is spent?

3. How to get information about the budget spendings?

4. What can I do to control the budget spendings?

5. Budget is a development plan.

 

“These videos will help citizens to be more effective in their actions. For example, when people learn that books for the local schools are to be purchased by the city council, they will come directly there to call for solving this issue, instead of collecting 10 thousand signatures for the petition to the Cabinet of Ministers asking the Government to solve the issue of the local level”, - says Ms. Dadinova.

A series of social videos “Control The Budget By Yourself” has been transferred to national and regional TV channels, as well as to editorial offices of local online-editions throughout Ukraine. Negotiations have been conducted with the press-services of all oblast administrations to get assistance in presenting the videos on the official pages of oblast administrations. In addition, ISER contacted regional Local Government Development Centers asking to spread the videos among consolidated territorial communities.

The project “Control The Budget By Yourself” continues the range of ISER’s initiatives on awakening interest of the society to participation in the budgeting processes and budget control. In particular, last year, the Institute has prepared the series of videos on the Draft State Budget-2017. The videos were met with an howling success especially because in a very simple way they have explained to a wide audience of citizens how the state budget defines the life of the country for the next year and why it is one of the main documents of the state.

Reference:

Institute for social and economic research (ISER) is a non-government think-tank,  founded by a group of independent experts to analyze and improve public policies. The Institute analyzes and improves the state policies in the key areas of social and economic development starting from the creation of an idea, concept development to the introduction of specific solutions. More information about ISER is on the web-site: www.iser.org.ua/en

 The project “Control The Budget By Yourself” is conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research within the program “Public Budgets from A to Z: informing, activating and engaging civil society" implemented by the Eastern Europe Foundation in partnership with the Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation PAUCI and financially supported by the European Union.

 Contact person: Artem Sokolenko, Communications Advisor ISER, sokolenko.artem@gmail.com